IronClad Mining has secured approval from the Government of South Australia for its planned development at the port of Lucky Bay on the Eyre Peninsula, paving the way for the start of the Wilcherry Hill iron-ore project.

Located 30km north of the township of Kimba in South Australia, the project is an 80:20 joint venture between IronClad and Trafford Resources.

Wilcherry Hill comprises four tenements and covers an area of 976km² with a JORC-compliant mineral resource of 24.3 million tonnes.

IronClad earlier revealed that it would amend its port plans by introducing a modest bulk ore stockpile facility at the port, reducing the required number of containers transporting the ore from the mine site from more than 3,000 to just 250.

The amended application required additional input by both IronClad and Sea Transport, and the responses allowed the Minister of Planning to approve the new port development plans.

The start-up capital required for stage one operation is expected to be A$15m, with a further A$6m required for the purchase and construction of a crushing plant.

It is proposed that the port fleet of two dumb barges, two tugs and a floating crane be leased.

The lease costs will be included in the overall operating costs and are expected to amount to about A$24m over the project’s first three years.

Discussions to arrange debt financing for the capital have been under way for some time and IronClad noted that it had previously been hindered by the uncertainty over port approvals.

Consultants MSP and Golders carried out the work on the design and costing of the stage two, 2.5 million tonnes per annum (tpa) gravity circuit and corresponding tailings dam.

The period required to finalise the design work, procure long-lead items, secure all governmental approvals and construct the plant is expected to be between 12 and 14 months.