Hawsons Iron made significant strides in the June quarter as it targets the completion of its bankable feasibility study (BFS) in December.
The Hawsons Iron board in June endorsed the 20-million-tonne-per-annum (Mtpa) development option for its namesake project in New South Wales, upgraded from the previously proposed 10Mtpa pathway.
The company said its BFS team had scrutinised both options in detail, with the 20Mtpa option poised to offer better environmental, social and governance (ESG) outcomes and project economics.
Electing the 20Mtpa option paved the way for the execution of a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Flinders Ports regarding the potential development and operation of the Myponie Point port in South Australia.
Under the MoU, it is envisaged that Flinders Ports would finance, construct, own and operate the Myponie Point port, reducing the Hawsons Iron project’s capital requirements in the process.
Soon after the MoU was established, Hawsons signed a two-year option agreement to purchase three blocks of land at Myponie Point.
“This agreement secures a crucial export site required for the planning and development of our 20Mtpa project and, importantly, provides significant additional space to accommodate expansion of the Myponie Point port into a multi-user, bulk-commodity export facility,” Hawsons Iron managing director Bryan Granzien said at the time.
Hawsons said establishing the proposed port site has enabled the BFS team to determine the optimum pipeline route which in turn has facilitated discussions with the SA Government and negotiations with affected landholders.
Since the June quarter ended, Hawsons Iron has announced a 21 per cent increase in its mineral resource, with the project’s total concentrate jumping from 400 million tonnes (Mt) to 484Mt.
The resource upgrade included a maiden 54Mt in the measured category, while indicated resources rose from 132Mt to 193Mt.
The upgrade was the result of the company’s 2021–22 infill drilling campaign, with a further upgrade expected in the September quarter to report on results from outstanding drilling samples.
As Hawsons Iron readies itself for the release of the BFS, the company said it continues to advance discussions with potential offtake partners and project financiers, including financial institutions, steel mills and commodity trading houses.
The emerging iron ore miner is also finalising water options for the project, while initial mine optimisation work has been providing direction on the proposed mining fleet and integration with the company’s ESG roadmap.
Other objectives are also advancing.
“Metallurgical test work is also proceeding and providing input to the process engineers working on optimising the plant design,” the company said in its quarterly report.
“Preliminary layout and concept designs of the tailings storage facility are being developed and testing of the tailings material will be undertaken once the metallurgical test work has been completed.
“Ecology assessments and cultural heritage surveys have also been continuing on-site as part of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process.”
During the September quarter, Hawsons will also lodge an application for further exploration activities with the NSW resources regulator.