THE owners of the Mutooroo magnetite project, 100km southwest of Broken Hill, have achieved a significant milestone with the confirmation of a maiden JORC inferred resource of 1.5 billion tonnes. Joint venture partners Minotaur Exploration (40.9 per cent) and Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining Oceania (59.1 per cent) made the announcement on November 24, 2011 – adding that they expected to complete a scoping study for the project in early 2012. The JORC estimate for the Muster Dam deposit, in the Mutooroo project, is within the exploration target of between 2.4bt and 4bt of iron at 14.5 per cent.
A total of 49 reverse circulation holes and 10 diamond holes were completed to a depth of 300m, along a 6km strike length of the deposit. According to the JV’s statement, the JORC reported estimate comprises a 1.5bt inferred resource grading 15.2 per cent iron ore magnetite at a 10 per cent cut off, with a head grade of 18.2 per cent of total iron.
Muster Dam is within a series of magnetite rich deposits which stretch almost 40km in length across the EL 3745 tenement, part of the broader Braemer iron formation, a regionally extensive sequence of magnetised sedimentary siltstones. Minotaur expects the Mutooroo project will produce magnetite concentrates containing 69.8 per cent iron, with acceptable silica levels and extremely low levels of deleterious elements – making it attractive to blast furnace consumers. Minotaur managing director Andrew Woskett said the company had begun preliminary design work to define an appropriate processing route for the projects mineralisation.
“We are moving rapidly to completion of a scoping study and believe this is now very much an emerging asset,” Mr Woskett said.
Currently, magnetite iron accounts for about 50 per cent of global iron ore production, but only 4 per cent of Australia’s iron ore output. Mr Woskett said, there was therefore vast scope for domestic growth in the seaborne trade of magnetite iron. Minotaur has also identified magnetite deposits at Duffields, Peaked Hill and Surrender Dam prospects, where it is undertaking exploration.
By Kate Christou