Australian Zircon has reported the results of an optimized feasibility study of its 80% owned WIM150 mineral sands project near Horsham in western Victoria, Australia. The project has current proved and probable ore reserves of 552 million mt grading 4.3% total heavy minerals. Project planning calls for a plant throughput rate of 10 million mt/y and a mine life of 55 years.
The WIM150 deposit is flat-lying, overlain by shallow overburden, and amenable to straight-forward mining and rehabilitation methods. The stripping ratio after removal of soil and subsoil is 0.5:1, waste to ore. Production would include heavy mineral concentrate, high-quality zircon, and rare earth and titanium products.
Mining is proposed to be by conventional earthmoving equipment. Excavators, bulldozers, scrapers, front-end loaders, and trucks would be used to strip topsoil, subsoil and overburden before extracting the ore.
Mined ore would be screened and slurried at a relocatable plant. The slurry would be pumped to a wet concentrator plant, where it would be separated into sand, clay/silt and heavy mineral concentrate. The heavy mineral concentrate would be transferred to a mineral separation plant for processing to final products.
Transport options for final products are being investigated and include trucking product from the mine site to a Horsham rail freight intermodal facility now under construction, followed by transport via rail to either of the ports of Portland, Geelong, Melbourne or Adelaide. Alternatively, product could be trucked directly from site to port.
Tailings would be returned directly to the mine void, which would be progressively rehabilitated, with overburden, subsoil and topsoil replaced in their original sequence. Land rehabilitation would be progressive and would be completed as soon as practicable after mining.
Studies required for completion of a finalized WIM150 Environment Effects Statement are ongoing, together with engagement with the relevant federal, state, and local government agencies, landholders, and the local community.
Orient Zirconic Resources (Australia) Pty. is Australian Zircon’s 20% partner in the WIM150 project.