Jupiter Mines has commenced a feasibility study on its A$1.6 billion Mount Ida Magnetite Project in the Central Yilgarn region of Western Australia.


Mount Ida is a key part of Jupiter’s strategy to become a global supplier of raw materials to the steel industry. The strategy is already well advanced, with construction of Jupiter’s 49.9 per cent owned Tshipi Manganese Project in South Africa commenced.


The Mount Ida feasibility study will be based on annual production of ten million tonnes of magnetite concentrate grading +68 per cent Fe. It is proposed that the concentrate will be transported along the existing railway from Menzies to the Port of Esperance on Western Australia’s south coast.


A scoping study completed in March this year found that Mount Ida(1) would be a financially and technically robust project with a project NPV of A$1.685 billion, forecast operating costs of A$62.78 a tonne of concentrate FOB and an internal rate of return of 19.8 per cent.


SRK and other consultants have been appointed to undertake key elements of the feasibility study, with planning and scheduling already underway. RC and diamond drilling will start in July.


Jupiter Chairman Brian Gilbertson said Mount Ida was emerging as a world class magnetite project.


“Mount Ida has a substantial resource, nearby rail and accessible port infrastructure, highly experienced project management and is ideally placed to supply major steel producers in Asia,” Mr Gilbertson said.


He said that with the financial backing of the Pallinghurst Co-Investors, Jupiter was well placed to develop Mount Ida as part of its goal of becoming a major supplier of raw materials to the steel industry.


Mount Ida is the flagship of Jupiter’s Central Yilgarn Iron Project, which also includes the Mount Mason Hematite Project. A feasibility study is also underway at Mount Mason(2) based on DSO hematite production of 1.5mMtpa from a JORC resource of 5.75Mt at 59.9 per cent Fe. Capital costs are estimated at A$65m-A$75m with a one-year payback.


The start of the feasibility study at Mount Ida comes as Jupiter continues to develop its 49.9 per cent-owned Tshipi Manganese Project.


Tshipi is on track for first production in mid-2012, ramping up to 2.4Mtpa of DSO manganese. The total capital cost is estimated at A$200 million, and project life is estimated at 60+ years.