Donald Mineral Sands Project
Evaluation & De-Risking
The Donald Mineral Sands project has been subject to detailed evaluation over many years, and all main regulatory approvals have been achieved or are well advanced.
Project evaluation and technical work has included the completion of mine planning, processing plant and infrastructure design, engineering design, product transportation, sales and marketing arrangements and environmental management, along with the grant of all major regulatory approvals, with the exception of the project work plan. A 25 year mine plan has been developed, although the resource is likely to support a 40 year plus mine life.
Evaluation work has included the operation of a purpose built pilot wet concentrator plant (WCP) to test heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) recoveries, and the recovery of two bulk samples of ore. Fine grained concentrates have undergone mineral processing at consultant facilities. From this test work, the efficient and commercial processing of ore has been achieved, with the production of:
- Zircon, predominantly premium grade (suitable for end user markets including ceramics), as well as a standard or chemical grade (suitable for chemicals and zirconium metal)
- Titania products (ilmenite, leucoxene and rutile), which, in a combined product stream, has an estimated 61% titanium dioxide content, suitable for use in the sulphate and chloride slagging processes. Globally, China is the major participant in slag production, where titanium dioxide is used for the manufacture of paints and other coating applications.
Project achievements and attributes include:
- Extensive Resource evaluation, including close spaced drilling as well as bulk sampling and metallurgical evaluation, providing a high level of confidence of Resource and ore body characteristics, compliant with the 2012 JORC Code requirements
- All main regulatory approvals (excluding work plan) for Stage 1 mining and concentrating
- High level of community engagement and support
- Long life, generational mine life, based on well established approaches for mining and rehabilitation
- Located within close proximity to infrastructure
- Water resources secured in the form of a 6.975GL water entitlement purchased from Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water
- Extensive metallurgical test work utilising a range of industry specialist consulting firms, as well as bench scale and pilot scale test work, providing confidence for commercial recovery of fine minerals
- Resource and exploration upside potential
- Products samples progressively made available to key customers for product testing and market acceptance
Donald is unique amongst potential Australian mineral sands projects in that its regulatory approvals are significantly completed. The following key regulatory approvals are in place for Stage 1 of the project, and approvals will be sought for extension of the project into Stage 2.
Regulatory approval timeline
Mining licence granted (MIN5532)
Water rights purchased
Cultural & Heritage Management Plan approved
Radiation licence renewed, extended to 2023
Export Licence renewed, initially granted 2016
Work plan to be submitted, covering all aspects of the proposed operation
Fine Minerals Processing
The processing of fine minerals in an efficient and reliable manner to ensure economic recoveries has been viewed, historically, as an insurmountable issue for WIM style deposits.
Based on significant R&D work conducted since 2005, Astron is confident it has developed the necessary process flows and equipment selection for the achievement of efficient commercial recoveries of HMC and final products. See Link for more information.