THE biggest iron ore deposit in Queensland has been found at Hawkwood, near Mundubbera.
Eastern Iron Limited, an Australian iron ore explorer, said a discovery of this size was something new for Queensland, which was not known for iron ore resources.
“The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) has released detailed results of a 1848-metre drilling program and the discovery of a magnetite iron ore,” Eastern Iron Limited technical director Peter Buckley said.
He said it was estimated from the shallow drilling so far that there was about 300-400 million tonnes of iron-bearing gabbro, with 20-25% contained magnetite.
“Additional tonnage potential exists at depth and in a further 5km of untested magnetic anomaly,” Mr Buckley said.
In a statement, the ASX said the magnetite mineralisation discovered by Eastern Iron was similar to other operating iron ore mines, such as Savage River in Tasmania.
Magnetite of this type is a sought-after raw material for steel making within Australia and export markets such as China.
The ore is expected to be exported from Gladstone Port and would be a new commodity for the port, which accommodates major cargoes including coal, alumina, aluminium and cement, and is the third largest bulk tonnage coal export port in Australia.
“The Gladstone Ports Corporation has advised Eastern Iron that subject to environmental, community and commercial conditions being met, there is available capacity for iron ore shipments of one to two millions of tonnes per annum from existing facilities, with an additional 5-6Mtpa available as other planned expansions come on line,” Mr Buckley said.
Gladstone Economic and Industry Development Board chief executive Dr Ken King said the Eastern Iron ASX announcement provided an investor update for the project that could ultimately benefit Mundubbera for processing and Gladstone for shipment.
“Gladstone obviously has the potential to add value for this project, both in the context of development support by local companies, however, until the exploration program is complete these cannot be quantified,” Mr King said.
“The Eastern Iron project, when proven, has the potential to bring economic and employment benefits to the region.”