THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Sheffield Resources (ASX: SFX) has kept the market up to speed in relation to a bankable feasibility study (BFS) being conducted on the company’s 100 per cent-owned world-class Thunderbird mineral sands project, located near Derby in northern Western Australia.
The BFS is being undertaken by leading engineering firm Hatch and is on schedule for completion by the end of 2016.
Sheffield explained the ilmenite mineral separation process flowsheet has been finalised with minimal change to the pre-feasibility study (PFS) flowsheet.
Engineering design has commenced, as has pilot scale test work on the low temperature roast (LTR) ilmenite at Hazen Laboratories in Colorado, USA.
Native Title negotiations and the environmental approvals process are also ticking along to schedule.
“The BFS test work is on schedule and progressing extremely well,” Sheffield Resources managing director Bruce McFadzean said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“We continue to see significant improvements in metallurgical performance including higher grades in the minus 2mm sand fraction, increased heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) grades and increased stage recoveries for both zircon and ilmenite.
“Further optimisation of the LTR conditions has resulted in outstanding improvements in the LTR ilmenite product specifications including an increase in grade to 57.9 per cent titanium dioxide (TiO2) and an increase in the iron oxide to iron (III) oxide (FeO:Fe2O3) ratio to greater than 1.0.
“The increase in FeO substantially improves the marketability of this product due to increased reactivity, which if confirmed by the pilot scale test work currently underway, will position the Thunderbird LTR ilmenite as one of the highest grade sulphate feedstocks available globally.
“Thunderbird is a world-class project with a projected mine life of over 40 years and is one of the few Western Australian mining projects that enjoys ‘Lead Agency’ status with the Department of Mines and Petroleum, underlining the significance of the project to the local community and the state of Western Australia.
“We continue to work with government departments and stakeholders as we progress Native Title, permitting and community engagement, in parallel with the Thunderbird Bankable Feasibility Study.”