Australia-focused Melior Resources Inc (CVE:MLR) updated investors Friday on its Goondicum Ilmenite project in Queensland, where the first shipment of the commodity remains scheduled for the first quarter of 2019.
Ilmenite is a titanium-iron oxide mineral, used in the process to make high-performance alloys. Most of the world's output is used to make titanium dioxide, a pigment and polishing abrasive.
Melior said Friday that the on-site components of the construction project have now been completed on schedule and within budget. Various off-site infrastructure upgrades will be made over the next few months, it added.
"Wet commissioning on water has been successfully completed and the project has now commenced mineral commissioning, as per schedule, with the first production of ilmenite and apatite successfully occurring in the last few days," the company said in a statement.
"The newly installed equipment and overall facility have performed as expected and the focus is now moving to the recruitment of additional operators and operator training as production ramps up. The project will operate on day shift only for the next month before moving to a 24-hour, 7 days per week roster thereafter," the company added.
Commissioning and ramp-up of is anticipated to extend through the second quarter of 2019 as production and sales gradually increase to full capacity. "Ilmenite haulage to the port is planned to begin in January and the first ilmenite shipment remains scheduled for Q1 CY2019," the firm said.
A Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) for Goondicum in April generally confirmed the results of the firm's internally prepared feasibility study, projecting Goondicum as being economically attractive with an after-tax rate of return of 92% and an NPV (net present value) of US$46.4M.
This was based on a required capital expenditure of US$7.0M over six months to yield a nine-year mine life with an average annual production of 160,000 tonnes of ilmenite and 40,000 tonnes of apatite.