Polaris Metals has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Esperance Port Authority that will allow the company to identify the requirements (operating and capital costs) for exporting ore from the Yilgarn Iron Ore Project (YIOP) through the berth at Esperance.
The company will also collaborate with the Esperance Port Authority to enable efficient and expedient development should Esperance be selected as the preferred option for export.
The company is planning to commence mining Stage 1 of the YIOP in 2010 based on the Carina and Chamaeleon iron ore deposits located 60 km north of Koolyanobbing in Western Australia.
According to the company, a recently completed Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) confirmed the viability of the project and as a base case, assumed export of iron ore through Fremantle Port’s Kwinana bulk handling facilities.
However, ongoing studies indicate that the Esperance Port might offer an alternative in terms of a larger ship size and more rapid development of the land side infrastructure, to meet the company’s export target dates.
Independent consultants are undertaking a study of the Esperance option to a pre-feasibility level of study. Once completed, the preferred port option, or mix of the two (dependent upon product type), will be selected (Kwinana and/or Esperance) and future studies will focus on refining the requirements and costs for exporting through the preferred port.
According to the company, further studies continue in conjunction with rail providers to identify access requirements to the ports via the public access rail network in southern WA, which is in close proximity to the YIOP project.