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Coburn mineral sands project, Australia – update

Image of Australia flag and mineral sands on a conveyor

8th October 2021

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Coburn mineral sands project.

Gascoyne region, in Western Australia.

Project Owner/s
Mineral sands developer 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 minerals.

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 minerals 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 long-term mining services agreement with contractor Mine Site Construction Services (MSCS).

The scope of the mining services agreement includes conventional openpit dry mining of ore at 23.4-million tonnes a year, overburden removal, pit backfill and land recontouring and general mining-related earthworks. The contract mining term is expected to cover the first seven years of production and provides a safe, reliable and efficient mining solution for Coburn.

MSCS is now preparing to mobilise to site to conduct mine establishment and prestrip activities.

Strandline remains on track to achieve first production of heavy mineral concentrate in the December quarter of 2022.

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, minerals separation plant and associated processing circuits); and Mine Site Construction Services (mining services contract).

Contact Details for Project Information
Strandline Resources, tel +61 8 9226 3130 or email

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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