The company, which has found success providing zircon and titanium minerals to an ever-expanding market in China, was granted approval by councils in both shires after finding approval from the West Australian State Government.?
According to Matilda Zircon, the project has resources of 1.62 million tonnes of heavy mineral contained in 66 million tonnes of dunal sand, with 80,000 tonnes per year of zircon and leucoxene products expected to be produced over eight years.
The approval came after an appeal to the State Administrative Tribunal. According to Perth Now, the zircon-leucoxene mine at Keysbrook was originally rejected by the shire councils, which raised concerns over noise, dust and environmental issues, including the amount of groundwater needed for the mine.
Local councils decided to ?rethink whether the fight was one they could afford to continue,? given the State Administrative Tribunal?s ruling. However, Serpentine Jarrahdale Shire president Sheila Twine told Perth Now that the council had achieved ?substantial progress? through its negotiations, with Matilda agreeing to establish a community reference group.
?This is a major achievement as this group would act as a kind of ‘watchdog’,? she said. ?The company will be responsible for establishing the group and meeting regularly with the community, who will monitor the performance of the mining operation.?
Since zircon and leucoxene sales prices have more than doubled over the past year, Matilda Zircon anticipates the project will be a profitable one.
Matilda Zircon’s technical director Peter Gazzard told the ABC the mine will create a number of jobs when it opens in two years? time.
“We are looking at about 60 people to be employed there, of which 20 will be mining contractors and 40 for us directly,” he said. “There’s probably going to be 20 or 30 during the construction stage, on and off.”
?Besides its zircon-leucoxene mine at Keysbrook, Matilda Zircon has a mine in the Lethbridge Bay area in the Tiwi Islands in the Northern Territory and a zircon processing plant at Sampit in Kalimantan in Indonesia.
Sources: ABC, Perth Now, Matilda Zircon