Critical minerals, News

Production gets a boost at Thunderbird

The ramp up of production and shipments at Kimberley Mineral Sands’ Thunderbird mineral sands mine is tracking nicely.

The Western Australian mine produced approximately 825,000 tonnes of ore in June this year, with an expected concentrate shipment of 90,000 tonnes due this month.

Total ore mined is expected to be 20 per cent higher than the operating rate assumed in the 2022 bankable feasibility study.

Thunderbird is owned by Kimberley Mineral Sands (KMS), a 50–50 joint venture between Sheffield Resources and Yansteel.

“I am pleased with the further step change in mine performance in June with KMS now ahead of the expected ramp up,” Sheffield executive chair Bruce Griffin said.

“Together with continued strong performance from the process plant and expected record export volumes in June 2024, the June performance provides a strong basis for sustained positive operating cash flow starting from the September 2024 quarter.”

The increase in shipments and a transition from pre-payment to typical payment terms for mineral sands has resulted in an increase in short term receivables within KMS. In June, Sheffield and Yansteel each contributed $7.5 million into KMS to fund working capital requirements.

June 2024 is expected to result in a record month for product shipments, with approximately 48,000 tonnes of ilmenite concentrate and 22,000 tonnes of zircon concentrate shipped in the month to date.

A further shipment of 30,000 tonnes of ilmenite concentrate commenced loading on 26 June and, on an annualised basis, the projected June shipments will be close to 1,100,000 tonnes per annum

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