BHP Billiton has obtained a licence from Austpac to use the ERMS SR synthetic rutile technology in Africa.
BHP will supply at least 550 tonnes of Corridor Sands ilmenite from Mozambique for the operation of the demonstration plant, from which around 180 tonnes of high grade ERMS SR synthetic rutile and 130 tonnes of DRI iron pellets will be produced for market assessment.
Construction of the demonstration plant will be completed by the end of 2007, commissioning and operations will commence in January 2008
Following completion of Demonstration Plant project, Austpac and BHP Billiton will jointly consider the next phase of commercialisation, which is a 60,000 tpa ERMS SR plant.
Ongoing work would include a feasibility study to evaluate costs and potential sites for the plant, with consideration given to south eastern Australia and the Murray Basin.