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Image flexes muscles for Atlas mineral sands move

Updated: Apr 17

Image Resources pocketed $22 million from the final shipment of mineral sands from its Boonanarring project last year. Credit: File

A cashed-up Image Resources is focused on relocating its mining and ore processing operations to its wholly-owned Atlas project in Western Australia’s North Perth Basin after making significant progress with approvals.

Atlas is a high-grade mineral sands mine containing 5.5 million tonnes of ore reserves at 9.2 per cent total heavy minerals (HM) and 96 per cent contained HM in the proven category. The mineralisation is shallow and has an excellent strip ratio of about 1:1.

Management says it submissions to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) late last month were approved earlier this year. The company expects to receive Ministerial and Commonwealth permitting approvals early next quarter, subject to any appeals.

Long lead equipment orders for the operation have been received, including its innovative CT1 spirals flex plant for HM recovery at the west concentration plant, in addition to camp accommodation and facilities.

According to its December quarterly report, Image finished the past calendar year with about $46 million in the kitty after pocketing $22 million from the final shipment of mineral sands from its Boonanarring project in WA. Mining and processing at the project wrapped up in August, before the loading of the final shipment of about 27,700 wet metric tonnes of HM concentrate (HMC).

The company is now waiting on permit approvals for Atlas and all of its HMC will be sold under the existing offtake agreements used at Boonanarring, with letters of credit supporting each bulk shipment prior to loading. It is fully prepared and now extremely well-funded to relocate its mining and processing equipment to Atlas once permitting is finalised.

With the completion of final sales of HMC from Boonanarring, we entered CY 2024 with a strong cash position of $46 million, sufficient to finance the relocation of mining and processing facilities to our 100%-owned Atlas project. While the resumption of mining and processing operations at Atlas has been delayed by permitting approvals, the Company is in a strong cash position to weather this delay and I am confident that the significant progress being made on advancing development project studies will translate into longer term growth, sustainability and value for the Company. Image Resources managing director and chief executive officer Patrick Mutz

Management says it has been fast-tracking feasibility studies into its Yandanooka project as it is likely to have a shorter development timeline than other operations in the company’s portfolio due to minimal heritage consideration and the level of environmental impacts. Drilling at Yandanooka was wrapped up in last year’s final quarter to upgrade the southern section of its mineral resources from the indicated to measured category. The current resource at Yandanooka sits at 60.8 million tonnes grading 3 per cent HM, with the latest assay results expected to be finalised within the next two months.

Last year, the company tabled a prefeasibility study (PFS) on its Bidaminna mineral sands project in WA that estimates a total EBITDA for its contemplated 10.5-year mine life of $379 million. The study also revealed a maiden ore reserve estimate of 123 million tonnes of probable ore reserves at 1.8 per cent HM.

Image says it is advancing optimisation studies targeting significant value-add opportunities at Bidaminna, including additional drilling for grade determination.

With plenty of cash in the bank and a host of projects ready for development, Image looks set to continue its successful run in 2023 into the new year.

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