The Coburn mineral sands project is located in the mid-west region of Western Australia.
Strandline Resources is developing the heave mineral sands (HMS) project, which is classified as one of the biggest and most advanced undeveloped mineral sands projects in the world.
The definitive feasibility study (DFS) of the project was completed in April 2019 with major focus on the Amy deposit. The project will produce a high-value heavy mineral concentrate and final product over its mine life of 22.5 years.
It is expected to produce an average of 229,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of HMC, comprising 58,000t of zircon concentrate, 110,000t of ilmenite, and 20,000t of HiTi (a blend of rutile and leucoxene containing 90% titanium dioxide).
Coburn mineral sands project location, geology, and mineralisation
Discovered in 2000, the Coburn mineral sands project is located in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia, approximately 240km from the port of Geraldton.
The project contains a combination of rich zircon-titanium heavy minerals, inclusive of 20Mt of in-situ HMC. The host rocks feature a strong geological continuity across and along strike.
The Amy deposit is located near the Shark Bay World Heritage Property in the Shire of Shark Bay and comprises dune-hosted mineralisation with a strike length of approximately 35km.
The majority of the mineralisation at the project comprises a collection of aeolian sands deposited over a Cretaceous basement of clays, clayey sands, and limestone.
Coburn mineral sands project reserves
The Coburn project is estimated to contain proven and probable reserves of 523 million tonnes (Mt), grading 1.11% total heavy mineral (THM). It is forecasted to contain 5.8Mt of heavy mineral.
The project is estimated to contain combined JORC-compliant mineral resources of 1.6 billion tonnes grading 1.2% THM.
Mining and processing
The Coburn HMS project will be mined using conventional open-pit dry mining methods, with the application of D11 dozers for the digging process. Two mobile dozer mining units will prepare the ore for processing and forward to the processing plant in a slurry form.
The processing plant will feature a wet concentrator plant, which can produce a high-grade saleable 95% HMC product using multiple stages of gravity separation and classification.
The HMC will be further processed in the mineral separation plant (MSP), which will employ electrostatic separation, gravity and magnetic fractionation to produce a high-value product.
The final product will comprise a premium zircon product (66% ZrO2), zircon concentrate (28% ZrO2 and 11% TiO2), HiTi90 product, and chloride-grade ilmenite (62% TiO2).
The produced concentrate will be stored on-site and transported in trucks to a dedicated staging facility at Narngulu, near the Geraldton port. Extending in 6,500m², the staging facility will be capable of storing 60,000t of product.
Product inventory will be shipped in bulk form to the existing port of Geraldton, managed by Mid-West Ports Authority (MWPA). The existing Geraldton port handling and ship loading infrastructure will be used to receive and transfer the product onto ships.
Infrastructure facilities at Coburn mineral sands project
Access to the project is through a 43.5km access road from the North West Coastal Highway (NWCH), which will connect the site with the Geraldton port.
Water for operations is proposed to be sourced from various sources, including in-pit water, sand tailings, return water, and a bore field.
Power required by the project will be supplied from an on-site LNG-fired power station. LNG is proposed to be sourced from the Dampier to Bunbury pipeline, located approximately 110km to the east of the project.
The personnel working at the mine are proposed to be accommodated at the on-site permanent village. Additional temporary accommodation will be provided during peak construction period.
The DFS of the Coburn mineral sands project was prepared by multiple independent and experienced consultants such as GR Engineering Services, AMC Consultants, IHC Robbins, AECOM and TZMI, Allied Mineral Laboratories, Knight Piesold, and Azure Capital.