Iluka Resources is preparing to restart operations at Jacinth-Ambrosia (J-A) zircon mine in the Eucla Basin of South Australia for December.
In a separate development, the company has decided to put Hamilton mineral separation plant (MSP) on care and maintenance from October, which will result in impairment of around $150m pre-tax.
Mining activities at J-A were suspended in April last year to allow heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) inventory to be drawn down during a time of subdued market demand.
The company initially expected that the suspension would be for 18-24 months.
Iluka Resources managing director Tom O’Leary said: “Iluka continues to be encouraged by the improvement in mineral sands markets.
“The restart of J-A reflects the continued tightening of the zircon market and follows the substantial draw down on HMC inventory over 2017.”
The restart is expected to cost the company around $7m, and will require 40 employees and 60 contractors.
Iluka stated that J-A remains its primary source of zircon, and expects the total group zircon production to be around 300,000t next year.
Operations at J-A mine comprise two contiguous deposits, Jacinth and Ambrosia, located about 800km from Adelaide, and 270km from the Port of Thevenard near the township of Ceduna.
The company also noted that it is currently carrying out negotiations with chloride pigment customers in connection with securing offtake agreements for its Cataby project.
Image: Heavy mineral concentrate stockpiles, Jacinth-Ambrosia operation, Eucla Basin, South Australia. Photo: courtesy of Iluka Resource Limited.