Boost for SA as mining projects progress

Three different projects in South Australia significantly progressed yesterday, lifting the state’s resources sector.

First, Rex Minerals revealed it has signed a non-binding agreement to finance 70 per cent of the cost to construct its Hillside copper and gold mine near Androssan on the Yorke Peninsula.

The company signed the deal with Chinese company NFC to finance the predicted $550 million of the cost of constructing the mine, and supervise the construction.

Rex Minerals will subcontract it out to NFC’s Australian partner Arccon. It hopes to start construction in the first six months of 2014, and is looking for the balance of the funding.

The second development is from IMX Resources, which released a study showing economic feasibility for its Mt Woods iron ore mine near Coober Pedy.

According to the study, the mine would cost $295 million to construct, which would take four years to pay itself back, adelaidenow reported.

The amount of iron ore deposit would also support a bigger project, according to IMX Resources managing director Neil Meadows.

“We believe the Mt Woods project is a unique opportunity in the Australian magnetite industry as the infrastructure required to develop the project is already in place and being used by IMX’s Cairn Hill mine,” he said.

“As a consequence, unlike most pre-development and current Australian magnetite projects, Mt Woods does not require large-scale capital investment and is not reliant on third parties for new infrastructure, in order to develop a potentially economically viable project.”

The third development in South Australia was in the energy sector, with Chinese energy giant China National Offshore Oil Corporation pledging ‘significant funding’ to gather speed on a multi-billion dollar joint project with Altona Energy in the state’s north.

The project was first revealed in 2009.

The fund commitment from the Chinese company and the speeding up of the project has aided in attaining a State Government extension on its exploration licences until June 2015.

The licences would have otherwise expired in two days.

Drilling was supposed to start in early 2012 but has now been postponed to the end of this year.

Altona managing director Chris Schrape did not divulge the finance commitment but said they would begin the process of attaining a drilling contractor late this month.

Further information on the work program would follow. The information has not been made public yet but has been disclosed to the state government.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.