How Kimberley Mineral Sands’ Thunderbird mine will benefit Broome, Derby economies

Kimberley Mineral SandsSponsored
Sheffield Resources' Thunderbird mineral sands project would be at a site on the Dampier Peninsula, between Derby and Broome
Camera IconSheffield Resources' Thunderbird mineral sands project would be at a site on the Dampier Peninsula, between Derby and Broome Credit: Jakeb Waddell

Kimberley Mineral Sands — a joint venture between Sheffield Resources and Hong Kong-based Yansteel — is developing the Thunderbird Mineral Sands project mid-way between Derby and Broome.

With a projected mine life of 37 years and a commitment to local jobs, this is a sustainable long-term project promising intergenerational employment for the West Kimberley and regional development prospects.

Final investment decision is anticipated in early 2022 and construction of the mine is expected to start in April 2022, with first exports through Kimberley ports in 2024.

The project has a wide range of stakeholder benefits, including:

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  • Local DIDO not FIFO — salaries staying in the region
  • 280 project jobs; intergenerational impact
  • Local content, local contracts, and local training

Regional — Kimberley — Northern Australia

  • Robust economics, regional development stimulus
  • $1bn in regional salaries and local business
  • Legacy logistics: Kimberley wharf upgrades, road improvements
  • Development: tourism,
  • value-adding
  • Greenfield project with low environmental impact

Aboriginal Community

  • Building to 40 per cent Aboriginal employment in first eight years of operations
  • Aboriginal business content; minimum $5m per year from year five
  • Aboriginal training, to support employment and business targets
  • Cash royalties estimated to exceed $100m over life of mine with significant potential for sustainable wealth creation
  • Potential for innovative development relationship between Kimberley Mineral Sands and Joombarn Buru native title corporation in collaboration with government.

Kimberley Mineral Sands has made steady and significant progress towards construction of Thunderbird including having it fully permitted and construction-ready.

In 2018 a native title co-existence agreement was signed by native title holders which ensures strong protection of heritage and environment within the agreement.

A joint venture bankable feasibility study is currently being completed to support a final investment decision and early works and project infrastructure have been completed, enabling a rapid start of construction in 2022.

Advanced negotiations are also under way of previously executed key project agreements, including an engineering, procurement and construction agreement, an LNG gas supply deal and power generation and mining services.

The majority of equity is in place via the joint venture with Yansteel, and a debt process is under way.

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