Sheffield ramps up production at new WA mineral sands mine

29th May 2024

By: Creamer Media Reporter


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Ramp up activities at the Thunderbird mineral sands mine, in Western Australia, are progressing well, with the new mine moving towards nameplate capacity, ASX-listed executive chairperson Bruce Griffin reported on Wednesday.

For the quarter to date, Thunderbird has achieved mine production totalling 1.23-million tonnes, a significant step change from the previous quarter.

Monthly mine production of 750 000 t during May was consistent with the ramp-up schedule towards an annualised ore mining rate of ten-million tonnes a year contained in the 2022 bankable feasibility study.

The increase in the mine production has resulted in higher production of concentrates with about 65 000 t of ilmenite produced in the quarter to date, and about 37 000 t in the current month of May.

Production of zircon concentrate totalled 20 000 t for the quarter to date, with about 12 000 t produced in the month of May.

Thunderbird has encountered higher-than-planned oversized material, which is resulting in higher costs. Coupled with scope changes to mining and logistics contracts, near term cash operating costs will range between $55-million and $60-million per quarter.

Ilmenite shipments have continued to grow, with about 55 000 t of concentrate dispatched to joint venture partner Yansteel, and the loading to 30 000 t of ilemenite concentrate under way.

“Whilst we have observed cost pressure and near-term pressure on realised zircon concentrate pricing, Thunderbird remains a world class mineral sands asset capable of solid production and cost performance across many decades to come,” said Griffin.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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