Thursday 11 July

Sheffield Resources is developing the Thunderbird Mineral Sands project mid-way between Derby and Broome in north-west Australia.

With a mine life of more than 40 years and a commitment to local jobs, this project promises intergenerational employment, indigenous and regional development prospects.

Construction of the mine is planned to start in 2019, with first exports through the ports of Derby and Broome following a two-year construction phase.



Sheffield Resources announced (11 June 2019) that it has commenced an update to the Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) for Thunderbird. This update follows a detailed technical assessment over the past six months by Sheffield and GR Engineering Services with the primary focus of reducing capital expenditure and increasing zircon production.

The updated BFS is expected to be finalised in Q3 2019. It focuses on increasing zircon production and deferring the low temperature roast ilmenite circuit to the Stage 2 development. In effect, an updated BFS sets out to:

  • defer capital expenditure
  • replace ilmenite revenue with zircon revenue
  • target optimisation of debt carrying capacity.

Sheffield mandated Taurus Mining Finance Fund (25 June 2019) to provide a A$14M bridging finance facility, demonstrating underlying  confidence in Thunderbird.

Sheffield subsequently advised the market (1 July 2019) that it had secured a binding cornerstone offtake agreement for the sale of 100% of unroasted primary ilmenite from Thunderbird. The Agreement enhances Thunderbird’s economics:

1   complementing the BFS update strategy which targets a material reduction in project capital by:

  • deferring the low temperature roast (LTR) ilmenite circuit; and
  • maintaining overall revenue by replacing LTR ilmenite revenue with increased zircon production.

2     by generating additional revenue from primary ilmenite sale.

This approach targets significant reductions to the project equity funding requirement.

Sheffield continues to develop the updated BFS, in parallel with the strategic partner process, to help bring Thunderbird into development.

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