EXPLORATION at the Corunna Downs project has yielded large quantities of iron ore for Atlas Iron, bolstering the company’s recent success in the Pilbara.
The first five holes drilled in the 18-hole program intersected up to 60 per cent iron at 42m, with 56.6 per cent iron found at 146m and 56.9 per cent iron at 114m.
Corunna Downs is part of the company’s North Pilbara greenfields exploration program and has a resource estimate of 25 million tonnes at 56.5 per cent of iron.
Atlas Iron managing director Ken Brinsden said the project would become a major part of the company’s iron ore portfolio.
“In a matter of a few months, the team have delivered our first resource at Corunna, completed a second round of extensional and infill drilling and achieved very encouraging results at two other targets within the project area,” he said.
“There are many more targets yet to be tested and the success generated to date gives us good reason to be optimistic that there is more ore to be found.”
Atlas has also delivered record quarterly production across its mining, haulage and shipping, and is currently on track to meet its 10.3mt shipping guidance for the 2013-2014 financial year.
“The continued strong iron ore price coupled with a focus on cost control and expanded production has enabled Atlas to maintain cash on hand at $378 million at 30 September 2013, while investing $90 million in mine and infrastructure growth projects, returning shareholders $22 million in dividend payments and building significant inventory,” Mr Brinsden said.
“Strong production from existing operations, combined with the commencement of mining and haulage from Atlas’ fourth mine, Abydos, has resulted in another quarter of record shipping.
“We now have a production rate of 10 million tonnes per annum, targeting shipments for the year of 9.8mt to 10.3mt.
“With another quarter of strong operating cash flow and our current strong balance sheet position we are fully funded to achieve our 12mtpa targeted export rate, with attractive growth options beyond 12mtpa,” he said.