Sheffield Resources and Yansteel have begun a joint venture (JV) at the Thunderbird mineral sands project in Western Australia as the latter acquired a 50 per cent stake in Kimberley Mineral Sands.
The Kimberley Mineral Sands JV formation follows Yansteel’s payment of $130 million for its interest in the project, while Sheffield lenders agreed to the venture.
The JV partners will now complete a final bankable feasibility study (BFS) for Thunderbird ahead of a planned final investment decision this year.
Sheffield managing director Bruce McFadzean said it was pleasing to accomplish this milestone.
“Our partnership with Yansteel is a great moment for Thunderbird, the people of the Kimberley, and for Sheffield Resources’ investors and stakeholders,” McFadzean said.
Yansteel director Wencong Mo also said the venture provided a lot of promise for both companies.
“We welcome our newly formed partnership with Sheffield and very much look forward to developing the Thunderbird mineral sands project which will provide benefits for all stakeholders,” Mo said.
The Thunderbird project will involve a 10.4 million tonnes a year mine and process plan as it hosts one of the largest and highest grade mineral sands discoveries of the century.
A 2017 feasibility study of the project confirmed it to be a world-class prospect with a lifespan of 42 years producing zircon and ilmenite.
Such a lifespan was based off the project’s 3.23 billion tonne mineral resource (measured, indicated and inferred).
Yansteel is a subsidiary of manufacturing giant Tangshan Yanshan Iron & Steel Co – a producer of around 10 million tonnes a year of steel products – via Hong Kong-based private company YanGang Co.