Image Resources has snagged a mining lease for its Atlas mineral sands project in Western Australia as the life of its Boonanarring project edges closer to ending.
The company was granted mining lease M70/1305 by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS), effective from April 1.
Image previously filed for a native title agreement for the proposed Atlas mining area in March 2021.
The Atlas project contains a resource of 18.1 million tonnes at 6 per cent heavy mineral with mineral assemblage including 9.3 per cent zircon, 46 per cent ilmenite, 4 per cent leucoxene and 6.5 per cent rutile.
It has a reserve of 9.5 million tonnes at 8.1 per cent heavy mineral with mineral assemblage that includes 10.6 per cent zircon, 51 per cent ilmenite, 4.5 per cent leucoxene and 7.5 per cent rutile.
Development for the project is under way, with the mining lease described by Image as a “critical part of the planning and implementation process”.
The Atlas project is designed to be mined following the exhaustion of available resources at the company’s Boonanarring mineral sands project in Western Australia.
Image anticipates that reserve depletion could occur as early as the December quarter 2022.
“…Mining and ore processing equipment and infrastructure would be relocated from Boonanarring to Atlas following final processing of all available ore at Boonanarring,” Image stated.
This will also involve the relocation of Image’s wet concentration processing plant.
Image’s Boonanarring project is a high-grade mineral sands project rich in zircon, which was commissioned in 2018.
The company has suggested Atlas’ own ore reserves base could be expanded by Image’s nearby Helene and Hyperion projects to extend the total mine life of Atlas.