Gascoyne Project - Mineral Sands 

Highlights

  • Approximately 40km of strike extent of the Pleistocene Brown Range dunal sand formation within the project area. 

  • Regional aircore drilling nearby has confirmed the presence of commercially important heavy minerals in the northern Gascoyne coastal region⁸.

  • Limited historic work completed in the project area.

Location

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The Gascoyne Project is located in Western Australia’s north-west and covers an area of 1,408 square kilometres. The town of Carnarvon is the administrative centre and adjoins the project area; it has first class infrastructure in place including the Dampier Bunbury Natural Gas Pipeline (DBNGP) and the major North West Coastal Highway.

 

The Gascoyne Region boasts the world class Coburn mineral sands deposit with an Ore Reserve of 523Mt @ 1.11% Total Heavy Mineral (THM) and initial mine life of 22.5 years⁶ and illustrates the significant mineral resource potential of the region.

 

Heavy minerals, such as zircon and titanium dioxide minerals (rutile and ilmenite), are deposited in the Pleistocene coastal sand dunal formations that extend intermittently along the Gascoyne coast. These heavy minerals are eroded from their parent igneous or metamorphic rocks and are transported by water and/or wind action over long periods of geological time, often ending up in the same locations as placer deposits. Most of the commercially attractive mineral sand deposits occur along old coastlines, particularly where high energy wave action and strong winds have prevailed over long periods of time.

The Gascoyne Project’s coastal sand dune systems have the potential to replicate the Strandline Resources Coburn Project further to the south at Shark Bay. The underexplored Pleistocene sand deposits in the project area underlie the inherent potential that remains untested.

Some of the key fundamentals of the heavy mineral sand market are listed below:

  • Zircon and high-grade titanium feedstocks; producing products used in everyday life such as ceramic tiles, refractory, paint, titanium metal and welding rod applications.

  • Zircon is resistant to water, chemicals, heat and abrasion, ~1.1 million tonnes per annum global market.

  • TiO2 pigment imparts whiteness, is UV resistant and inert, ~7.0 million tpa global market.

  • Increasing demand driven by urbanisation, rising living standards, global growth and extensive array of applications.

  • ‘Critical Minerals’, vital to the economic well-being of the world's major and emerging economies.

  • Supply restricted by mine closures, declining grades and depleting stockpiles. China chloride pigment consumption increasing, driven by higher environmental standards and technology advancement.

  • Strong long-term market fundamentals - demand growth outpacing supply, new projects required to meet future demand.

  • Forecast structural supply gap, with demand for zircon increasing year on-year at 2.5-3.0% pa and existing production decreasing at average of 5% pa⁷.

⁶ Building a significant Mineral Sands Business, Company Overview, Strandline Resources, November 2020  

⁷ TZ Minerals International, Global Zircon Supply/Demand Balance to 2035 (February 2020)

⁸ WAMEX A29292, Gascoyne Mineral Sands Project, Annual report to WA Department of Mines, September 1989

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