Further exploration success in Murray Basin
Iluka Resources Ltd has confirmed the discovery of a further heavy mineral (HM) deposit as part of its regional exploration strategy in the New South Wales portion of the company’s Murray Basin tenement holdings.The Nepean discovery represents a new, high grade mineral sands deposit. The deposit has a strike length of over 9km, open to the north, with an HM core consistently containing grades of greater than 30% and a combined rutile and zircon assemblages of greater than 20%.The Nepean deposit is approximately 70km north of the town of Balranald and 40km north of the West Balranald deposit. The West Balranald deposit has resources booked in accordance with the JORC code of in situ HM tonnes of 11.6 million (or 26 % of 2006 total resources for the Murray Basin), with a HM grade of 31 % and a combined rutile and zircon assemblage of 22 %. Iluka also advised on 4 September 2007, the discovery of the Minsk deposit in the West Balranald region.Peter Benjamin, Iluka’s Executive General Manager, Exploration stated: “The Nepean results provide further confirmation of the mineral sands prospectivity of Iluka’s regional exploration activities in the northern Murray Basin deposits, where the company has tenements holdings of approximately 12,000sqkm out of a total Murray Basin tenement holdings of 32,500sqkm. The objective of the exploration program has been to identify and delineate large, high assemblage rutile and zircon deposits, to both extend the economic life of the Murray Basin operations and potentially bring forward large, longer life deposits in the mining schedule. In combination with West Balranald, Minsk and multiple other prospects, this region is quickly emerging as a potentially significant component of Iluka’s northern Murray Basin value creation activities.”Iluka currently undertakes mining in the southern part of the Murray Basin near Douglas and is planning shortly to commit to the development of the first of the northern Murray Basin deposits at Kulwin as part of its Murray Basin Stage 2 development. The exploration work in the West Balranald part of the Basin is designed to provide additional resources to extend mining operations beyond the current planned mining life of 2021. According to Peter Benjamin: “A characteristic of the deposits in this part of the basin is that while large and high grade, they are located beneath a significant amount of overburden. Iluka’s approach has been to assess all exploration prospects based on established economic criteria relating to depth, grade and assemblage, and in the context of information from two externally commissioned technical studies on the economics and appropriate mining techniques for such deposits. The sectional drilling of the Nepean deposit along the strike indicates the northern 6km of the resource is located relatively near surface, at beneath 37m to 55m of overburden. Iluka’s technical work indicates that deposits at such depths would be economic using conventional mining techniques. Drilling further south indicates the deposit plunges steadily over the next 3km to over 100m depth.”“Based on the geological continuity observed in the drilling and assemblage studies to date, and investigations into the mining of similar deposits in the region, Iluka is confident that the drilling results will provide a reliable basis for reporting a resource for the Nepean deposit in accordance with the JORC Code, 2004. Resource modelling has been initiated and Iluka expects to be able to announce a resource by the first quarter of 2008”, Mr Benjamin said.