Mineral- rich sand set to be mined
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.