WA environment minister Albert Jacob has approved the development of Diatreme Resources’ Cyclone zircon project in the state’s Eucla Basin.
The project’s approval includes the construction of open cut pits, mining and processing infrastructure, an airstrip, an accommodation camp, bore fields and a haul road from the site to the Forrest rail siding.
It comes after the company secured agreements with the traditional owners – the Spinifex People, identified suitable water supplies, and acquired an extended tenement area, which increased the project’s expected mine life.
Cyclone, located 25km from the border between WA and South Australia, now has a projected mine life of 14 years and an expected production rate of 10 million tonnes per year.
Diatreme CEO Neil McIntyre said the approval was a key project milestone, particularly amid predictions of a ‘zircon supply challenge’ within the next three years.
“Cyclone is in the right position at the right time in the cycle to capitalise on the growing demand for valuable mineral sands such as zircon,” McIntyre said.
“While some project delivery challenges remain, we now intend to “push the button” to advance our discussions with project partners, potential funders and potential product offtakers for direct project participation, so the final aspects of the definitive feasibility study (DFS) can be funded and completed as rapidly as possible.”
Although it is not as large, the Cyclone deposit has been likened to Iluka’s Jacinth-Ambrosia deposit, which, in 2005, was one of the world’s biggest mineral sands discoveries.