Federal funds for Coburn mineral sands

Edward ScownMidwest Times
Air core drilling at Strandline Resources' Coburn mineral sands project near Shark Bay.
Camera IconAir core drilling at Strandline Resources' Coburn mineral sands project near Shark Bay. Credit: Supplied, Read Corporate

The Federal Government will provide a $150 million loan to get one of the world’s biggest mineral sands projects off the ground near Shark Bay.

The loan comes from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, a $5 billion fund to invest in industry across the northern half of Australia.

Strandline Resources’ Coburn site, 240km north of Geraldton, borders two heritage and conservation areas. An exploration licence has been granted in the south-west corner of Hamelin Station, a rehabilitation area for native wildlife and vegetation, while the licensed mining area is pressed up against the UNESCO-listed Shark Bay World Heritage property.

Bush Heritage Australia, which owns Hamelin Station and has been rehabilitating the area since 2015, declined to comment on the project.

Drilling since 2000 has uncovered a 523Mt deposit of minerals, primarily zircon and titanium. Minerals from the site south of Denham could be used globally in the production of ceramic tiles, welding rods, paints and aircraft components.

The project is expected to create 315 jobs during construction and up to 190 ongoing positions for a period of 22.5 years.

Over that time the mine is expected to generate an economic impact of $922m.

“We are delighted to support (the project) with approval of investment towards what is considered one of the world’s largest and capital-efficient mineral sands projects,” NAIF chief executive Chris Wade said.

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said the project would lead to more heavy haulage through Geraldton town centre and the City supported a Main Roads plan to build a bypass road.

“The inner bypass would allow these trucks to be diverted out of urban Geraldton,” he said.

Strandline expects export capacity at Geraldton Port will position them well.

Earthworks have started at the site, but production is not expected to start until the fourth quarter of 2022.

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