Atlas Iron has reported the results of a pre-feasibility study (PFS) of its Corunna Downs iron ore project in Western Australia, which demonstrates the potential to deliver 4 million metric tons per year (mt/y) of lump and fines direct shipping ore over an initial mine life of five to six years. Atlas operates three direct shipping ore mines in the Pilbara region of Western Australia that currently produce a combined total of 14 million to 15 million mt/y. The Corunna Downs project has the potential to deliver replacement tons for the company’s Abydos and Wodgina mines, which are expected to cease mining over the next two to three years.
Atlas has not made a decision regarding Corunna Downs project development, which remains subject to corporate and regulatory approvals and iron ore market conditions. The regulatory approvals process is ongoing.
The Corunna Downs project is located 40 km east of Atlas’s Mount Webber mine. The PFS considered mining only resources above the water table. Mining of resources below the water table offers the potential to extend the life of the project.
The PFS estimates initial capital expenditures to develop the Corunna Downs project at A$35 million to $40 million. Current mineral resources are estimated at 65.4 million mt grading 57.2% iron, including ore reserves of 21.1 million mt grading 57% iron. Metallurgical test work demonstrates that the ore has good metallurgical properties, including low abrasiveness and a high proportion of lump.
The Corunna Downs project is located approximately 241 km from Port Hedland. Conventional open-pit mining would be undertaken by a mining contractor, managed by Atlas. Ore would be blended and crushed at the project site and hauled by road to Port Hedland.
Infrastructure required for the Corunna Downs operation will be considered as part of the project development. Site infrastructure will include the main site access road, pit access ramps, run-of-mine pad and crusher area, processing plant, product stockpiling and load-out yard, waste dumps, mine operations center, contractor’s laydown yard, explosives storage, and camp accommodations.