PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Mineral sands miner Sheffield Resources on Wednesday told shareholders that a work programme has started to ensure the completion of a bankable feasibility study (BFS) on the revised scope of its Thunderbird project, in Western Australia, to assure a final investment decision is reached ahead of the 2021 dry season.
The revised BFS would allow for the completion of project financing, following the formation of a joint venture (JV) with Yansteel.
A full-scale trial mining programme is planned for the fourth quarter of this year, to confirm the mining plant design and contract costs, and to collect a bulk ore sample, while site investigation, design and tendering work is also scheduled for the fourth quarter.
The early work is expected to cost some A$2.9-million to complete, and will be funded from the Yansteel placement proceeds. The work programme will be reimbursable from the JV and will reduce Sheffield’s requirement to fund any JV equity shortfall to between A$130.1-million and A$143-million.
Sheffield and Yansteel in August struck a JV agreement, under which Yansteel would invest A$130.1-million to acquire a 50% stake in the project, with the transaction subject to the execution of formal agreements, as well as regulatory and shareholder approval.
The companies have also executed a take-or-pay offtake agreement for all of the ilmenite produced at the Stage 1 project.
Sheffield said on Wednesday that the two companies have submitted the Foreign Investment Review Board application for the JV, and have progressed to drafting definitive documentation for the transaction, targeting an execution at the end of October this year.