Melior Resources Inc., is pleased to announce the commencement of mineral commissioning of the upgraded and expanded site processing facilities at the Goondicum Mine.
- Mineral commissioning commenced on 7 April 2015, with ramp up to target capacity of approximately 200,000 tonnes per annum continuing into H2 2015
- Site components of the Re-start project completed on budget and ahead of schedule
Project and Operation
The total project has been completed on budget and ahead of the planned eight-month construction period. The total cost for the on-site upgrade and expansion of the process plant was AUD$7.6M (budgeted expenditure AUD$7.74M). The project consisted of an upgrade of the existing processing facilities to enhance product quality, increase plant recovery and availability as well as expanding the processing capacity by approximately 50% to 2.8 million tonnes per annum. Commissioning is expected to continue for up to six months before target production capacity of approximately 17,000 tonnes per month of ilmenite is expected to be achieved. The operation is quickly building up to its anticipated employment compliment of 50 personnel with around 30 additional personnel working with associated contractors.
Eastern Access Road
The new mine access road is approximately 25% complete with approximately 4.8km of the total 19km length successfully built to date. When complete the road will reduce the haulage distance from the mine to Gladstone port by approximately 100km. The remainder of the road is currently undergoing final engineering design. Additionally, follow-up environmental documentation and survey work has been requested by the Australian Commonwealth Department of Environment to comply with permitting requirements. Melior is working through these requests however completion of the road cannot occur until this work has been completed to the department's satisfaction. For the foreseeable future, product will be hauled to the port via the existing access road with the first 6,000 tonne ilmenite shipment bound for Japan scheduled for loading in the second half of May. The historically low oil prices significantly mitigate the impact of the use of the existing, longer haul road.
The global market for titanium feedstocks, including ilmenite, remains subdued. Over the last year there has been a significant volume of new supply enter the market via newly commissioned projects and this will likely take some time to be absorbed before any US dollar price improvement can be expected. However, the depreciating Australian dollar is partially offsetting this market softness for Australian producers. Melior will continue to monitor the market as the Goondicum operations moves through commissioning into production.
Melior has an exclusive marketing agreement with Sojitz Corporation, a major Japanese trading company, for all of its ilmenite sales into Japan and Korea and is now finalizing an exclusive arrangement into China with Sojitz. In addition to this, Melior has letters of intent signed with Chinese pigment producers via Sojitz and it intends to advance these letters of intent to firm sales contracts over the next few months as ilmenite operation production builds up.
The terms of a 5,000 tonne trial cargo of phosphate rock are also in the process of being finalized with an off-shore customer with this shipment expected to occur during Q3 2015.
CEO Mark McCauley commented that "Melior is making the transition to a fully-fledged producer and marketer of quality ilmenite and phosphate rock products which should be reflected in a positive financial outcome for FY2016".