MINE OPEN AGAIN

Com­pany se­cures restart loan for 2018

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - — Jack Lawrie

MELIOR Re­sources has an­nounced it in­tends to restart op­er­a­tions at the Goondicum il­menite mine lo­cated near Monto.

The com­pany has se­cured an agree­ment in prin­ci­ple with Pala In­vest­ments for the pro­vi­sion of a $US5.25 mil­lion “restart loan” which will as­sist with the re-open­ing of the mine.

With this com­mit­ment from Pala in place, the com­pany needs $US5 mil­lion to fully be­gin the restart of the Goondicum il­menite mine.

Melior Re­sources chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Mark McCauley said the com­pany planned to have fund­ing fi­nalised by Christ­mas.

Af­ter that, he pre­dicted it would be roughly six months’ worth of con­struc­tion and im­prove­ments.

“We’re in­stalling some ad­di­tional equip­ment to im­prove re­cov­er­ies and over­all prod­uct qual­ity,” Mr McCauley said.

Goondicum was placed on care and main­te­nance in July 2015 due to weak il­menite prices.

Mr McCauley said the com­pany wanted to make sure that, un­like pre­vi­ous times when the mine had opened only to close again, they would have a plan to make it sus­tain­able in the long-term.

“We are do­ing things to the prod­ucts to in­clude their qual­ity so we can of­fer bet­ter prod­ucts dur­ing the in­evitable down­turn of the com­mod­ity cy­cle,” he said.

“We’ve got a cur­rent mine plan of around nine years but I think, if we’re still op­er­at­ing in nine years, it’s al­most cer­tain we’ll still be open in 14 or 15 be­cause there’s a lot of ad­di­tional ton­neage we don’t have fac­tored in to our cur­rent plan.”

Melior’s de­ci­sion to restart op­er­a­tions at Goondicum is based on fac­tors in­clud­ing strong project eco­nomics, re­cov­ery of il­menite prices and a pos­i­tive out­look for the sec­tor given ex­pected GDP eco­nomic growth in China.

Mr McCauley said the mine would em­ploy about 50 peo­ple.

“Most of the em­ploy­ees will come from ei­ther the Monto re­gion, or not too much fur­ther afield,” he said.

“The main thing is the em­ploy­ment and the sup­plies are be­ing sourced lo­cally and we won’t open this mine un­less we’re con­fi­dent it’s a long-term propo­si­tion.”

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