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Coburn mineral sands project, Australia – update

12th March 2021

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Coburn mineral sands project.

Location
In the Gascoyne region of Western Australia.

Project Owner/s
ASX-listed Strandline Resources.

Project Description
An updated definitive feasibility study (DFS) has resulted in significant increases in forecasted financial returns for the project over an initial 22.5-year mine life.

The project has Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant ore reserves of 523-million tonnes grading 1.11% total heavy minerals for about 5.8-million tonnes of contained heavy mineral.

The mining study has confirmed a conventional openpit dry mining operation where free-dig unconsolidated sand is mined using heavy mobile equipment to transport material to dozer mining units. The units prepare the ore for processing and the ore is pumped in slurry form to the processing plant.

Bulk metallurgical testwork of representative samples using full-scale or scalable processing equipment has confirmed conventional processing capable of producing high-quality products, with exceptional pit-to-product recovery rates achieved within concentrate and the final product streams.

The DFS has further confirmed an efficient and modern process design capable of producing a high-grade saleable 95% heavy mineral concentrate product from the wet concentration plant, and final products through further processing by the mineral separation plant.

The project will produce four final products comprising a premium zircon product (66% zirconium dioxide), zircon concentrate product (which contains payable zircon, titanium and monazite minerals), rutile product (93% titanium dioxide) and a chloride-grade ilmenite product (62% titanium dioxide).

The updated DFS is still based on a throughput of 23.4-million tonnes a year with an average production of 34 000 t/y of zircon, 54 000 t/y of zircon concentrate, 110 000 t/y of chloride ilmenite and 24 000 t/y of rutile, which are expected to supply about 5% of the global zircon market.

There is potential to further increase project reserves and mine life by about 15 years – to 37.5 – years through the conversion of resources extending north and along strike of the current ore reserves.

Potential Job Creation
Peak workforce during construction is estimated to be more than 300 people, with an average operational workforce during production of about 150 direct skilled workers.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The project has a pretax net present value, at an 8% discount rate, of A$705-million, up from A$544-million in the feasibility study. The pretax internal rate of return has increased from 32% to 37%.

The project has a payback of 2.1 years.

Capital Expenditure
Capital expenditure has increased from A$257-million in the DFS to A$260-million in the updated DFS.

Planned Start/End Date
The project will take 18 months to design and build to achieve first ore to the process plant.

Latest Developments
Strandline Resources has signed a 15-year electricity supply agreement for its Coburn project with Pacific Energy subsidiary Contract Power Australia.

Contract Power will build, own, operate and maintain the power generation and liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage and regasification facilities for the project.

The purpose-designed power infrastructure will be based on a low-cost and -emissions solution integrating natural-gas-fuelled generation with solar and battery storage technology, and will enable Strandline to capture energy supply cost savings relative to the 2020 DFS.

The power station will have a maximum demand capacity of 15 MW and average consumed power of about 10 MW, with natural gas to be supplied under an industry-standard long-term LNG supply agreement, and trucked to an on-site storage and re-vaporation facility provided by Contract Power.

Strandline has also signed the final binding offtake agreement for its Coburn project with titanium dioxide producer Venator Materials, covering all of the expected rutile production at the project.

An estimated 90% of the project’s revenue is now underwritten by binding sales contracts with major customers.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
R Engineering Services, AMC Consultants, IHC Robbins, AECOM and TZMI’s Allied Mineral Laboratories (DFS); SRK Consulting (technical due diligence of engineering designs and planning associated with geology, hydrology, mining, processing, infrastructure, logistics, implementation strategies, cost estimates and environmental, social and permitting); Deloitte Access Economics (independent economic cost-benefit analysis); TZ Minerals International (product quality and marketing); and Macmahon (construction of road access and bulk earthworks); Piacentini & Son (in-pit dozer mining units); and Primero (EPC and commissioning and performance testing of the wet concentration plant, mineral separation plant and associated processing circuits).

Contact Details for Project Information
Strandline Resources, tel +61 8 9226 3130 or email enquiries@strandline.com.au.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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