Monto mine is set to reopen soon
IN A BOOST to the Monto region, the Goondicum ilmenite mine is on track to reopen by June.
North Burnett Mayor Don Waugh welcomed the news saying the mine was a vital cog in Monto's economy and would be especially welcome given the region was still recovering from the flood.
"It's a development in the area that we support because it provides employment and as it develops, more employment can be expected from it," he said.
"It will be a real boost to the economy, especially with the flood that has come through the area, which has affected local farmers and certainly the income they have in the area for the next few months."
The Goondicum Mine was bought by Canadian company Melior Resources, which owns Goondicum Resources, last May after the price of ilmenite plummeted from record highs.
The mine is expected to employ 50 workers and 30 contractors.
Meilor Resources chief executive Mark McCauley said it had been rebuilding the mine since last August to get it back into production by the second quarter of 2015 - about 18 months since it ceased production.
"We will certainly have general production out of them in the next couple of months," he said.
Melior acquired the Goondicum ilmenite mine through its acquisition of Belridge Enterprises Pty Ltd and part of the rebuilding plan included an expected 50% increase in throughput of the processing plant to 375 tonnes per hour, installation of additional equipment to enhance product quality and recovery, and construction of a new access road to the mine, reducing haulage distance to port by about 100km.
The plans for a new access road sparked controversy last year when Goondicum Resources admitted to illegally bulldozing hundreds of metres of native bushland without state approval.
Mr McCauley said the company was continuing to seek approvals for the access road and would hopefully have that work completed later in the year.
He said while the price of ilmenite was still low, the mine was a long-life project for Melior Resources.
"Even in today's environment, which is still quite depressed regarding ilmenite, it will still be a quite a good project," he said.