The prediction made at a resources conference in Adelaide two months ago that IMX Resources NL (ASX: IXR) would be able to fast track development of its Cairn Hill magnetite-iron ore-copper and gold project was confirmed as the company is gaining all necessary approvals from the South Australian government and mobilising a mining contractor.
This development slipped under the business media's radar as the focus has been on the launching by Andrew (Twiggy) Forrest's team at Fortescue Metals Group of the multi billion dollar Cloud Break mine, railway and Port Hedland shiploading and export facilities in the Pilbara to provide the big competitor to Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton in the dominant global iron ore mining and marketing scene.
IMX said today this trial mining will fine tune the main operation that will become full scale in the third quarter of this year. Cairn Hill is 55 kilometres south east of the famous opal mining centre of Coober Pedy and is close to the new railway line through to the Northern Territory port of Darwin - providing ideal export access to China.
The trial mine will produce about 20,000 tonnes of run-of-mine ore that will that will be crushed and available for bulk samples. This development follow formation of the offtake partnership with Chinese steel company Jilin Tonghua Iron & Steel (Group) Mining Ltd, with whom IMX signed a detailed heads of agreement in December. Tonghua Mining became a cornerstone investor in IMX early this year.
IMX's managing director Duncan McBain said the company was excited about the prospects of getting a closer look at the orebody during trial mining.
McBain said IMX Resources' application for various Miscellaneous Purpose licences covering the haul road and ancillary facilities was imminent and the company expected to lodge the Mining & Rehabilitation Programme (MARP) for the full mining operations shortly.
McBain said assays were awaited for recent RC drilling at Cairn Hill. The initial expectations are that the low copper and sulphur magnetite mineralisation will be increased by 3-6 Mt (at 40-50% Fe), sufficient to provide feed for the proposed second stage of the project to produce a high grade magnetite concentrate on site, he said.
The drilling to date still only covers a fraction of the potential of the project identified from the detailed helimag [survey], and IMX Resources remains focused on continuing our programme to expand mineralisation,.
IMX is also actively exploring other resource projects in South Australia, Tasmania and Tanzania, focusing on a range of commodities including iron-ore, nickel, gold, copper, platinum and uranium.
In Tanzania, Lonmin Plc is earning an interest in IMX's Mibango platinum joint ventures. Lonmin currently funds and operates the exploration at Mibango.
IMX spun off 70% of the Nachingwea nickel -copper prospect in Tanzania into Continental Nickel Ltd (TSXV: CNI) in August 2007. IMX holds 47.3% of Continental Nickel and retains a 30% free carried interest in the Nachingwea project.
IMX also owns 39.5% of Uranex (ASX: UNX), a spin-off company from IMX Resources, which listed in October 2005 and is a dedicated uranium company with assets in Australia and Tanzania.