Magnetite Mines has reported positive results from a scoping study of its Razorback magnetite iron ore project 240 kilometers (km) northeast of Adelaide, South Australia. The study identifies development of an initial small-scale operation producing high-grade concentrate from a low-capital investment as the preferred option, retaining potential for future expansion. The company did not disclose production targets.

Low-angle, outcropping mineralization would support open-cut mining at low stripping ratios, with limited pre-strip. Established transport-related infrastructure would deliver the project’s iron ore concentrate to market.

A desktop study confirmed the applicability of NextOre’s magnetic resonance ore sorting system to the Razorback mineralization. The processing flowsheet includes primary and secondary crushing, grinding by high-pressure grinding rolls, air separation, rougher magnetic separation, ball milling, low-intensity magnetic separation, and hydro separation to produce the final concentrate.

Magnetite is now seeking funding to progress the project to a prefeasibility study.

Magnetite Chairman Peter Schubert commented, “The board aspires to deliver a high-grade concentrate into the market based on a small-scale startup. We believe this will allow the company to find investors to support our vision.

“The scoping study has confirmed the Board’s view that the Razorback iron project is uniquely placed within the global high-grade iron market, as the infrastructure required to develop the project is largely in place and the project is amenable to staging. Therefore, unlike most pre-development and current Australian magnetite projects, the project does not require large-scale capital investment and is not reliant on third parties for new infrastructure to develop a potentially economically viable project.

“By using existing rail and port infrastructure and starting at a small scale, we can avoid the need for high up-front capital and associated long lead times that are typical for many iron ore startups. Together with the availability of grid power and water sources in close proximity to the mine site, the project is ideally situated to exploit these advantages.”

The project’s JORC-compliant mineral resource totals 3.9 billion mt in two large magnetite deposits, Razorback and Ironback Hill. The company anticipates that the project will produce premium concentrates of +68% iron, with very low deleterious elements.

While Magnetite is encouraged by the results of the scoping study in general and the results of the small-scale startup scenario in particular, it sees considerable scope for potentially much larger operations.

Magnetite’s current planning indicates that the Razorback project can be operational within five years of the commencement of the pre-feasibility study.