The reopening of an ilmenite mine in North Queensland could lead to the creation of 50 new jobs after it was bought by a Canadian mining company.
Melior Resources has bought out previous owner of the Goondicum mine, Belridge Enterprises, under the agreement it would spend $US15 million to restart the mothballed operation.
35 jobs were lost last year when the mine, located near Monto, went into care and maintenance as a result of falling ilmenite prices.
The mineral sands product is widely used in paint and pharmaceutical industries but dropped from $280 per tonne down to about $160 per tonne in mid-2013.
The $120 million Goondium mine was first developed in 2007 and has changed hands three times since then.
It features a resource base of 1.9 million tonnes of indicated and 1.93 million tonnes of inferred in-situ ilmenite resources.
Melior expects a restart to be quick and low-cost, however a final decision has not yet been made.
New CEO of Melior, Mark McCauley, who was the mine’s managing director under Belridge said the company was in a good position to restart mine.
"Melior was effectively a company that had cash and no projects… and Belridge has had a project but required funding,” he said.
“It’s been a win-win transaction.”
However McCauley said the current “soft” prices being seen in the mineral sands market would factor in to any restart decision.
The recommencement of production is expected to take six months and will be on a larger scale to the existing operation, requiring 15 extra jobs.
McCauley said the mine would also require contractors and service providers, which would create a economic boost for Monto.
Local mayor Don Waugh said he had “always liked the Canadians” and welcomed Melior to the region.