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VIC mineral sands industry to grow

At a recent resources conference, Mike Hollitt, executive director at the Victorian Department of Primary Resources, called for the state to do more to promote its resources overseas.

Hollitt said that while the price of mineral sands such as titanium and zirconium had more than doubled over the past year, Victoria was simply not perceived on the international market as a major producer. According to the AAP, this perception was primarily caused by the state?s lack of an ?iconic mine?.

“You have to have a position in the world, a face in the world and this [poor perception] is not the face we want to have,” he told attendees at the RIU Melbourne Resources Round-up. “I think we could have done more in the past, we could have done more to explain Victoria’s competitive position and potential.”

Despite its lack of reputation, the state shows real potential for ramping up its mineral sands industry thanks to its smaller size, which helps keep costs in transporting product from sites to ports.

Already, companies such as Iluka Resources and Astron are operating mines in Western Victoria, while exploration for new sites is currently underway in Gippsland and Ottway. Victoria?s mineral sand endowment includes an estimated 8 million tonnes of rutile and 6 million tonnes of zircon.

According to a State Government report, the Victorian mineral sands industry could grow to $1.5 billion based on a current three billion tonne resource. It is currently running a scheme entitled Rediscover Victoria, which is offering $5m in funding to support targeted drilling by exploration companies in the state.


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