Mineral Resources yesterday announced an agreement with Hancock Prospecting to commence operations at the Nicholas Downs manganese operation in March 2010.
The operation, in the Murchison region of Western Australia, will have a production target of 40,000 tonnes per month of 40% ferruginous manganese.
The first shipments of product are expected to sail from Port Hedland in April 2010, Minerals Resources said.
Minerals Resources will mobilise a processing plant and equipment at the site in January.
According to Mineral Resources executive chairman Peter Wade, “This is a major development in the relationship with Hancock and a direct result of the significant effort from both parties to move this project forward.”
“The conditions are right for an additional supply of manganese with the overall world market for steel-making materials significantly improving,” he said.
Last year, Mineral Resources announced a collaborative agreement with Hancock to establish a manganese processing and export operation at what was then known as the Balfour Downs tenement.
Hancock has since renamed the project after the Nicholas family, a pioneering family in the north of West Australia.
James Nicholas owned Cobb & Co and brought the first camels into the area to provide transportation.