Iluka Resources teams up with Vale in South America for titanium development

Australian minerals sands producer Iluka Resources has struck a deal with Brazillian giant Vale for a new development in South America.

The agreements for a joint venture and intellectual property were announced to the ASX today, and apply to the staged evaluation and potential development of the major titanium minerals deposit at Tapira in Minas Gerais State, Brazil.

Iluka has secured options on a maximum of 49 per cent of a joint venture, along with preferential options for other large scale titanium dioxide deposits in Vale’s portfolio.

Iluka managing director David Robb said the company was very pleased to have Vale as a partner.

“Iluka’s involvement provides the company with the opportunity to participate in the potential commercialisation of one of the largest known undeveloped titanium mineral deposits,” he said.

“The approach is an example of Iluka’s additional emphasis on alliancing and joint venture activities to identify and potentially develop new mineral resources needed over the long term by the mineral sands industry.”

The deposit, known as the Tapira Complex, contains titanium dioxide, ilmenite and perovskite, which all occur in association with Vale’s existing phosphate mining operations.

The Tapira Complex covers an area of around 35 square kilometres, and hosts phosphorus and titanium.

Iluka will undertake geological and metallurgical programs in order to plan for the development of a large scale titanium feedstock operation.

Vale fertilizers and coal excecutive director Roger Downey said: “The agreement with Ilkua brings a partner with the expertise to add value and seek alternatives for faster development of the Tapira Titanium Project.”

Iluka has suffered heavy losses in the past 12 months, due to the falling price of minerals sands, which forced cost cutting measures of 35 per cent and a 25 per cent reduction in workforce.

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