Min­eral- rich sand set to be mined

Townsville Bulletin - - Investor -

LISTED com­pany Me­tal­lica Min­er­als has set the ground­work for min­ing min­eral-rich sands near Weipa more than five decades af­ter the re­source was iden­ti­fied.

The com­pany’s wholly owned s ubsi d i a r y , Ore­some Aus­tralia, has re­ceived draft terms of ref­er­ence for an en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact study for the de­posits at Point Urquhart.

The Urquhart Point Heavy Min­eral Sands cover a 366ha area about 7km south­west of Weipa, and the pro­ject in­volves the pro­duc­tion of zir­con and ru­tile con­cen­trate, mainly for ex­port.

The de­posits, first in­ves­ti­gated in 1956 and 1959, hold an in­di­cated re­source of 2.8 mil­lion tonnes at 7 per cent heavy min­eral sands to a max­i­mum depth of 3m.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day no­ti­fy­ing re­ceipt of the terms of ref­er­ence from the Depart­ment o f N a t u r a l R e s o u r c e s , Me­tal­lica said t he de­posit typ­i­cally con­tained 20 per cent z i r c o n a n d 2 7 p e r c e n t t i t anium-bear­ing min­er­als, mainly ru­tile.

Ore­some Aus­tralia’s gen­eral man­ager Ste­wart Ha­gan said the com­pany was work­ing closely with tra­di­tional land- own­ers and Au­rukun Shire Coun­cil to en­sure the pro­ject de­liv­ered pos­i­tive out­comes for all.

In an ini­tial ad­vice state­ment to the Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources, Ore­some said the pro­ject would have a life of four to six years.

Ore­some said given the close­ness of Weipa – 3km dis­tant by boat – plant and equip­ment would be brought in, and prod­uct taken out, by barge, as would the work­force.

It said op­er­a­tor po­si­tions and a trainee­ship would be of­fered to tra­di­tional landown­ers and/ or mem­bers of the Au­rukun and Napranum com­mu­ni­ties.

Or e s o me s a i d s i t e p r e p - ara­tion, min­ing op­er­a­tions, and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion would be car­ried out un­der con­tracts, which would be of­fered first to tra­di­tional landown­ers.

Me­tal­lica Min­er­als in­ter­est in the Point Urquhart de­posits saw it sign a joint-ven­ture a g r e e m e n t i n 2 0 0 6 w i t h Matil­ida Min­er­als for that com­pany to un­der­take an ex­plo­ration pro­gram. The jointven­ture ar­range­ment ended af­ter Matilda en­tered into vol­un­tary ad­min­is­tra­tion in 2008 and did not meet its re­quire­ments un­der the agree­ment.

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