The study has identified that Snaefell has the potential to produce a coarse-grained premium magnetite concentrate on a large scale.
What is so important about the product is that it could be monetised by providing a suitable direct feed to sinter plants and sale into the broader Asian steelmaking regions.
Another option is that the product could be sold into the Chinese market and used to replace or supplement what are becoming less price competitive Chinese domestic iron ore concentrates produced from ore which has been declining in grade for several years.
Ticking other boxes for the project is the fact that it has relatively low capital and operating cost, low technology risk beneficiation process, along with access to existing infrastructure capable of low cost incremental expansion within the South Australian jurisdiction.
IMX Resources has also identified that the company is initiating discussions with potential project development partners.
Neil Meadows, managing director, commented: "The Concept Study demonstrates that the Snaefell Project could be developed on the basis of large scale iron concentrate production, from the existing resource base identified at Snaefell within the Mt Woods area."
Snaefell has a current Inferred JORC Resource of 569 million tonnes at 27.1% iron (using 18% iron cut-off) - while remaining open at depth.
Meadows added, "At a coarse grind size of 180-200 microns, the Snaefell ore has the potential to produce a premium quality 66% Fe concentrate which may be suitable as a direct iron making sinter plant feed.
"The lack of the traditional requirement for pelletisation would reduce the operating costs for the steel makers thereby producing the potential for the concentrate to attract a premium price."
Advantages of coarse-grained magnetite
The major advantage of coarse-grained magnetite ore is that the iron can be liberated from the host rock at a larger particle size, which eliminates the need for complex and technologically challenging ultra-fine grinding equipment.
IMX Resources said that this eliminates the need to construct the highly capital and energy intensive beneficiation circuits typical of most magnetite projects, which in general have grind sizes in the range of 30-100 microns.
The flow sheet contemplated in the study involves only three stages of crushing followed by a single stage ball milling and magnetic separation circuit.
The next steps
IMX Resources has outlined a work program for the remainder of 2012 at the project which includes studies in relation to power, water, logistics and the metallurgy of the magnetite concentrate. This will help support the advancement of the Snaefell Project through to a commitment to producing a Pre-Feasibility Study.
Snaefell's capital and operating cost estimates and preliminary project financial analysis will be provided upon completion of the additional studies.
IMX Resources is well funded with $17.5 million cash at bank at the end of the June 2012 quarter.
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