50 new jobs could be created at the Goondicum ilmenite mine near Monto in central Queensland, after its new owner — Canada’s Melior Resources — has revealed that it was planning to reopen the mine which suspended operations a year ago.
According to the article on ABC, Melior Resources has bought previous mine owner Belridge Enterprises under an agreement of spending $15 million to restart the mine in exchange for shares.
The mine was developed in 2007 and was found to have a life of 25 years, with export potential of 7000 tonnes of ilmenite to Japan each year.
However, plummeting ilmenite prices, a high Australian dollar and production issues saw the mine change hands three times before being bought by Melior.
CEO of Melior Resources Mark McCauley, who was the mine’s Managing Director under Belridge, said the new transaction was a win-win.
“Melior was effectively a company that had cash and no projects . . . and Belridge has had a project but required funding.”
He said the board has yet to meet and determine if the mine would be financially viable, a key factor that would heavily influence the board’s final decision.
Commodity values in the mine’s specific titanium and feedstock industries are still low at the moment, but Goondicum will reopen on a larger scale with an extra 15 new permanent jobs once the value increases.
North Burnett Mayor Don Waugh said the opening of the mine would benefit Monto and cushion the blow from the continuing fall of the local dairy industry.
“I’ve always liked the Canadians, so it’s great to welcome them into our area as a business group. It’s extremely necessary for an area like Monto,” he said.
Mr Waugh further added that road quality was an issue that would be resolved if the mine starts up again.