Community Reference Group meeting in June 2022.

Donald Mineral Sands (DMS) is committed to engaging in constructive dialogue with all of our stakeholders in order to understand and respond to issues that are important to them. These stakeholders include local landowners, local and wider community members, special interest groups, government, and businesses and suppliers involved with the project.

DMS will continue to engage with the community through:

  • The DMS Community Reference Group
  • Public information sessions
  • The DMS website, Facebook and LinkedIn pages
  • The DMS community sponsorship program
  • An ongoing presence at the DMS office in Minyip

Community Reference Group

The Donald Mineral Sands Community Reference Group (CRG) facilitates direct local contact with a range of stakeholders to:

  • Act as a conduit to provide feedback from the wider community
  • Provide an avenue to facilitate flow of information from DMS back to stakeholders on all aspects of the project,
  • Allow CRG members to raise any issues or opportunities in relation to the project and its potential environmental, social and economic impacts, and
  • Ensure that Donald Mineral Sands is involved in community engagement to allow fairness, transparency and accountability in decision making, providing opportunities for inclusion, deliberation and influence

CRG members represent a broad range of stakeholders and to convey stakeholder issues as they arise. The CRG is not an approvals body and does not have a regulatory function. However it is an invaluable advisory group to guide DMS on local and regional issues in relation to the project.

The CRG is composed of approximately 25 stakeholders, representing a broad cross-section of regional interests, with representatives of DMS attending each meeting. The CRG’s role will be complete at the end of the Work Plan approval stage. Once construction commences, an Environmental Review Committee (ERC) will be formed to advise DMS on issues during construction, operation and final closure, and to review DMS’s performance against licensing requirements, obligations and commitments.

Yarriambiack Shire Council - Memorandum of Understanding

Astron Corporation Limited Chairman Mr George Lloyd and Managing Director Mr Tiger Brown pictured signing the MOU with Yarriambiack Shire Council Mayor Cr Kylie Zanker (centre) and Chief Executive Officer Ms Tammy Smith (right).

On 23 November 2022, Astron Corporation Limited executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Yarriambiack Shire Council (YSC).

The MOU provides for Astron and YSC to work cooperatively and collaboratively to maximise mutually beneficial community and economic outcomes from the development and operation of the Donald project and represents an important milestone in the development of the Donald Rare Earths and Mineral Sands Project.

The MOU focuses on maximising the local social and economic opportunities associated with the project. Astron and YSC are committed to cooperation in the areas of common interest to achieve positive environmental, social and economic outcomes for the communities within the Shire.

The core areas for collaboration between the two parties are:

  • Optimising Economic and Social Outcomes – to work cooperatively and in good faith to facilitate as many positive outcomes from the Donald project as possible whilst also working jointly to minimise and mitigate any potential negative economic employment and social outcomes associated with the project; and
  • Building Relationships to Support the Donald Project – to work cooperatively and in good faith to develop an advocacy and relationship management program which will aid the timely delivery of the project and wider community benefits.

Astron, looks forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Yarriambiack Shire Council and the residents of the shire.

A full copy of the Memorandum of Understanding can be found here.

Public Information Sessions

Paul AthertonCommunity Liaison Officer Paul Atherton
One of the key activities of the Environment and Community Officer is to present on the progress of the project to the communities of Minyip, Warracknabeal, Murtoa and Rupanyup. Further sessions have also been held with progress associations and Chambers of Commerce. The community engagement requirements of regulators requires that DMS demonstrates that it has gauged the sentiment of local communities and responded to any concerns and keep stakeholders informed of the progress of the project. If your community group would like a presentation on the Project, please contact our Environment and Community Officer Paul Atherton via email:
Board & senior management visit to site, July 2022.
Minyip public information sessions

Environment and Community Officer Paul Atherton meeting with students at the Wimmera Careers Expo.


During our Public Information Sessions a number of questions are frequently asked.
Here are just a few of them:

Q. Will the workforce be sourced from the local area?

A. Unemployment levels are low in the region and it is expected to continue that way for some time. DMS recognises that there will be insufficient workers currently in the region to meet the needs of the mine and supporting infrastructure. DMS does not favour a Drive In Drive Out (DIDO) workforce model. Preference is to employ suitably qualified persons from the local and regional community. This will allow DMS to draw staff from Minyip, Murtoa, Rupanyup, Donald, Warracknabeal, Stawell, St Arnaud, Horsham and other nearby localities.

Q. How will the Heavy Mineral Concentrate and Rare Earth Concentrate be transported?

A. Heavy Mineral and Rare Earth concentrates will initially be transported by truck to a railhead such as Dooen Freight Hub or directly to a port. Truck routes have not been finalised, however it is expected that Minyip – Rich Avon Road, Johnston Road and C. Leach Road including intersections will all require upgrading. The standard of road upgrades will be determined by Yarriambiack Shire and Department of Transport and Planning (DOTP).

Q. What is the economic impact of the project?

A. The Donald Mineral Sands project will result in a $2.2 Billion net increase in gross regional product within the local project region. The average annual economic boost to output in the Project Area is approximately $205 million, or an average yearly increase of 1.8% in GRP relative to the base case. It will create an average of 536 full time equivalent jobs per annum of which approximately 150 jobs will be direct employee or through contracting opportunities at the site. Further information

How will the fine grained mineral sands be processed?

Historically, the main technical issue associated with the development of fine-grained mineral sands deposits, has related to processing and the achievement of commercial recoveries of the valuable heavy minerals (HM). Astron has played a major role in the development of technologies to achieve commercial levels of recovery similar to conventional coarse grained deposits. Extensive test work over close to two decades, has enabled Astron’s mineral separation process to be enhanced and simplified. The hybrid processes to be used in relation to spirals and rare earth flotation are well understood, widely adopted and present relatively little technical risk. Further Information.

Community News

Community is important to us.
Explore our latest community news.​

DMS Project Update August 2023 PDF 377 KB
Fact Sheet: Fine Minerals Processing PDF 377 KB
Project Update February 2023 PDF 377 KB
Fact Sheet: Economic Impact on Project Area PDF 397KB
Project Update October 2022.​ PDF 853 KB
Community Activities Time Frame
Donald community drop in session
August 1, 2023

Stay Connected

DMS has a Facebook and LinkedIn pages where you can keep up to date with what is happening. Follow us

Our Environment and Community Officer, Paul Atherton is available to answer any enquiries and can be contacted via email.

Subscribe to Community Newsletters and Fact Sheets

Scroll to Top
Thanks for subscribing to the Community Updates Newsletter