2015 start for Wateranga works

Posted August 5, 2015

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Drilling at the Wateranga project in southern Queensland.

Owner eyes Chinese market for quality ilmenite from open-pit operation.

Queensland Industrial Minerals hopes to begin earthmoving and early infrastructure works by the end of the year at its Wateranga minerals project, 30km south-east of Mt Perry in southern Queensland.

Ilmenite – used to manufacture titanium pigments and metals – is among QIM’s target minerals at the deposit, which also contains magnetite, zircon, feldspar, apatite and corundum.

QIM chairman David Li said the company had acquired its draft environmental approval for the Wateranga project in September 2014 and recently applied for its mining lease.

The open-pit project, expected to require $20 million in capital works, could be commissioned as soon as July 2016, he said.

“The tenders and contracts will be issued in due course,” Mr Li said.

Ore will be processed on site through gravity and magnetic separation circuits before the mineral product is trucked to Bundaberg port.

Mr Li said QIM was committed to negotiate with parties including landholders, local councils and the Department of Transport and Main Roads regarding compensation for any disturbance.

While ilmenite prices were currently at the lower end of the market, Mr Li said they were still faring better than conventional bulk resources such as coal and iron ore.

“QIM can gain profit based on the advanced mining and processing method,” he said.

“Quality ilmenite like QIM’s product is still attractive to the downstream pigment manufacturers in China, as the majority of the Chinese domestic mines cannot produce the same quality as ours.”

Ilmenite prices were forecast to steadily increase to 2020, when they were expected to reach $US181 per tonne (free on board), Mr Li said. He said the Wateranga project was likely to employ 20-30 people in its operational phase.

QIM believes the Wateranga resource is sufficient for a mine life in excess of 25 years at an annual mining rate of 1.8 million tonnes in the central tenement.

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