Saturday, 26th November, 2011
A magnetite ore deposit discovered just over the border in SA is a high quality resource that could find a ready market overseas, according to an exploration company.
The Japanese and Australian owners of the Muster Dam magnetite deposit, located about 100 kilometres south west of Broken Hill, said it could contain about 1.5 billion tonnes.
The joint venture partners, Minotaur Exploration Limited and Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining Oceania Pty Ltd, also announced this week that they expected to complete a scoping study by early next year.
Muster Dam is located within a sequence of magnetite rich deposits which stretch almost 40 kilometres across part of the broader Braemar Iron Formation, an extensive sequence of magnetised sedimentary siltstones
Minotaur drilled down 300 metres along a six kilometre strip of the Muster Dam deposit at Mutooroo and by this estimated an inferred resource of 1.5 billion tonnes of 15.2 per cent magnetite in seams of between 200 and 400 metres wide.
Minotaur’s Managing Director, Andrew Woskett, said the resource was comparable to Carpentaria Exploration’s nearby Hawson’s project, 25 kilometres away.
“We are moving rapidly to completion of a scoping study and believe this is now very much an emerging asset,” Mr Woskett said.
He said tests had reinforced Minotaur’s belief that Mutooroo had the potential to produce high grade magnetite concentrate with extremely low levels of deleterious elements that would make it attractive to blast furnaces operators.
Magnetite iron accounts for about half of the world’s iron ore production, but only four percent of Australia’s iron ore output.
Mr Woskett said this meant there was great opportunities for growth in the seaborne trade of magnetite iron from Australia.