Australia’s emerging iron ore miner Brockman Resources has valued its Marillana iron ore mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia at a top estimate of A$1.64bn with a minimum mine life of 20 years.

The company said it is set to become the most substantial producer among the Pilbara’s emerging iron ore miners with the rates of return ranging from 19.5% to 25.1%.

Brockman managing director Wayne Richards said the study results are positive both financially and technically.

“The pre-feasibility study shows that the Marillana project stands to be a financially rewarding project with robust operating margins, strong rates of return and simple mining and processing technologies,” Richards said.

The study reviewed four development options at the project depending on various price forecasts and assessed two primary options for rail haulage, which includes the possible construction of a loading loop connection to BHP Billiton infrastructure, the company said.

Production is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2012 at a rate of about 17 million tonnes per annum 58-62% iron.

The project’s net present value is estimated at between A$1.39bn and A$1.64 bn.

Upfront capital costs are estimated at A$705m to A$1.35bn depending on different logistical, development and ore transportation options, the company said.

The final Environmental Scoping Document has been submitted to the Environmental Protection Authority and approval is expected shortly.