Venus Metals Corp. has released positive results for a prefeasibility study of the Yalgoo magnetite iron ore project in the Mid West region of Western Australia, 200 km due east of Geraldton, that it is developing with 50% farm-in joint-venture partner Shandong Provincial Bureau of Geology and Minerals, of China. The project is based on seven exploration licenses totaling 208 km2. The Bilberatha Hill magnetite banded iron formation deposit is the main orebody under consideration.
Project design currently calls for Yalgoo to produce 7.5 million mt/y of high-grade magnetite concentrate (greater than 68% iron) for export. Mine life based on current resources would be in excess of 15 years. Capital cost for the project is estimated at A$1.3 billion, assuming independent power supply including a crushing and concentrating plant, a slurry pipe line to and filtering of concentrates at Oakajee port, a desalination plant at Oakajee, a combined desalinated and filtered water pipe line from Oakajee to the project site, and tailings disposal. Total operating cost is estimated at A$53.68/mt of concentrate.
The Yalgoo magnetite resource is estimated at 698 million mt, grading 29.3% iron and including 311 million mt of indicated resource at 30.7% iron and 387 million mt of inferred resource at 28.2% iron. The prefeasibility study assumes processing of 385 million mt at a grade of 30.1% iron to produce a life-of-mine total of 129.4 million mt of concentrate.
The concentrate will be pumped via slurry pipeline to Oakajee port, where it will be filtered and conveyed to stockpile and ship-loading facilities. Filtrate from the filter plant will be returned via pipeline to the mine site, along with process make-up water obtained from a desalination plant at Oakajee.
Oakajee was selected as the export port, because the Port of Geraldton appears to be fully subscribed for bulk material export, now and into the foreseeable future.
Ongoing project development for Yalgoo will include further drilling and mineralogy assessment across all orebodies to JORC standard; continuing investigations into water supply from the palaeochannel east of the project area; continuing activities in support of the approvals process; discussions with rail operators, pipe line providers, electricity and power providers, and gas providers; and investigation of the trade-offs related to the power station, the pipe lines and the desalination plant being independently owned and operated.