Image Resources’ recent strategic acquisition of the McCalls Mineral Sands Project located northeast of Gingin in Western Australia is showing promise.
Procured from Sheffield Resources, the project is comprised of two separate deposits: McCalls and Mindarra Springs 10km to the south, and Mindarra Springs located 10km to the east of Image’s Boonanarring project.
Verification and reporting of mineral resources on site reveals a figure of 5.8 billion tonnes at 1.4 per cent total heavy minerals (THM) containing 84 million tonnes of heavy minerals.
Other positive attributes include 90 per cent valuable heavy minerals in the mineral assemblage, a combined total of 7.1 per cent zircon plus rutile, and 82.5 ilmenite plus leucoxene in the total heavy minerals averaging 63 per cent titanium oxide.
The studies also demonstrated that mineralisation in the deposit has properties well suited to conventional mineral sands processing methods for the recovery of heavy minerals.
While the overall grades are low, the thickness, arial extent, continuous nature and low stripping ratios of both the McCalls and Mindarra Springs deposits are such that non-selective bulk mining methods can be considered.
Potential mining methods include dry mining using dozer traps as well as potential (due to higher slimes content) for hydraulic mining methods using water cannons and slurry sumps.
These additional mineral resources figures have effectively increased the company’s contained heavy minerals by more than six-fold, from 17 million tonnes to 101 million tonnes.
The project is located in the infrastructure-rich North Perth Basin, an area of historic and continuing mineral sands mining and processing, including ongoing operations by Tronox, Iluka and Image, and with local residents, business owners and governments receptive to mining in conjunction with continuing agricultural development.
Boonanarring is arguably one of the highest grade, zircon-rich mineral sands projects in Australia. Production commenced in December 2018 and HMC production ramped-up to exceed name-plate capacity in only the second month of operation.