THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Sheffield Resources (ASX: SFX) has been granted preferred proponent status for a bulk commodity handling area at the Derby wharf.
The grant follows a recent expression of interest process carried out by the Shire of Derby/West Kimberley Council.
As a result, Sheffield will have an exclusive six month period, to negotiate lease area terms to the satisfaction of the Council and Western Australia’s Minister for Transport.
The company said the bulk commodity handling area is to include exclusive use of part of the Southern Wharf abutment, and parts of the main sublease area and car park.
According to Sheffield, the Derby wharf has previously been used to export base metal concentrates from Western Metals’ Lennard Shelf operations.
This system used a conveyor system to transport product to the wharf for loading onto barges, which are used due to the high tidal ranges in King Sound.
Each barge carried 5,000 tonnes of product approximately 20 nautical miles north of Derby for sea transfer onto larger vessels. Up to 500,000 tonnes per annum was exported using this method.
Sheffield explained it is proposing to use a similar system for the loading and shipment of its mineral sands products.
“This is a very positive development for the Thunderbird mineral sands project,” Sheffield Resources managing director Bruce McQuitty said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.
“Based on our April 2014 Scoping Study, we are seeking to export around 650,000 tonnes per annum of mineral sands products from Thunderbird over a 32 year mine life.
“Our infrastructure studies indicate that the Derby wharf is well suited for the quantities of products we are seeking to export.
“This is an important step towards securing an export facility and will allow us to proceed with our feasibility studies with greater confidence.
“Should Thunderbird be developed, Derby could become the third Western Australian port to export mineral sands products, after Bunbury and Geraldton.
“We look forward to working closely with the Shire of Derby/West Kimberley Council and the Department of Transport to the benefit of Sheffield shareholders, the Shire and all stakeholders in the region for many years to come.”