Potential shallow readily dredgeable lateritic/ residual /pisolitic iron ores, derived from weathering of underlying Banded Iron Formation on a former land surface. Superb Pilbara location, Dredge it up, straight onto a ship, then export. Cheap to mine. Almost no infrastructure required. Short lead time to develop. Simple exploration could yield huge rewards; a dramatically leveraged exploration play opportunity.
A vast DSO deposit and the cheapest to mine in the Pilbara?
- A highly unusual offshore target. Concept: shallow readily dredgeable lateritic/ residual /pisolitic ores, derived from weathering of underlying Banded Iron Formation on a former land surface and in a major paleochannel, now flooded by Quaternary sea level rise.
- Superb location near Karratha, adjacent to existing Cape Preston Port facilities, near the huge Sino-Citic and South Balmoral iron resources.
- Dredge it up, straight onto a ship, then export.
- Cheap to mine.
- Almost no infrastructure required.
- Short lead time to develop.
- No previous exploration, so initial simple exploration could yield huge rewards. This is a dramatically leveraged exploration play opportunity.
Exploration Licence E08/2466 “Steamboat Is” applied for 25 January 2013.
Size:- 64 blocks, 205 sq km.
Exploration Expenditure Commitment, when granted:- $64 000.00 per annum.
Located 85km E of Karratha in the Pilbara of Western Australia.
Bulk of the tenement is offshore: small islands are B Class Nature Reserves.
Geological Map Sheets: Dampier 1:250,000 SF50-2
The sea covers most of the tenement, with water depths ranging up to 20m, in most places less than 5m.
Basement rocks, interpreted from available magnetic imagery, are rich in magnetite bearing Banded Iron Formation (BIF) of the Brockman Iron Formation. This Formation is part of the Archean to Palaeoproterozoic Hamersley Group which hosts most of the major iron ores of the Pilbara.
Until around 200,000 years ago the coast was north of the Tenement and thus the Tenement area was an exposed land surface, subject to intense weathering. Iron enriched goethitic/hematitic laterites are likely to have developed by weathering of BIF.
Residual scree deposits would have developed adjacent to ridges; a ridge trending NE, defined by shallow sea depths, occurs in the Tenement. A relatively rapid recent sea transgression is likely to have preserved these deposits, in contrast to onshore areas where much of these deposits have been eroded away.
The interpreted valley of the now-flooded paleo-Fortescue River passes through the tenement. This valley could host reworked pisolitic paleochannel iron ores of Robe River type; known deposits of this type are prized for their low impurities such as phosphorus.
It is likely that all iron rich laterite, residual and paleochannel deposits are unconsolidated and close to the sea floor, perhaps covered in only a few centimetres of recent sand, shell grit, and mud. They would be amenable to cheap dredging.
In the extreme south of the tenement there is a small amount of land from which open pit mining of magnetite ores in BIF may be possible, perhaps aided by an offshore bund.
South East of the Tenement basement BIF units host the major hosted Balmoral deposits, held by the Clive Palmer owned private company, Mineralogy Pty Ltd, partly in partnership with Citic Pacific and Australasian Resources Ltd. These deposits are reputedly the world’s largest undeveloped magnetite resources which have the potential to host 60-100 billion tonnes of BIF.Hong Kong based Citic Pacific is currently developing the massive Sino project with a resource exceeding 2 billion tonnes.Australasian Resources Ltd plans to develop the Susan Palmer/Balmoral South deposits. Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resources in March 2009 on a cut-off grade of 15% MagFe (Australasian Resources website, 2013; MagFe – percentage of magnetically recoverable Fe in ore): 1605 Mt @ 22.6% MagFe, which can be upgraded to 69% Fe, 3.9% SiO2 0.1% Al2O3 0.03% P2O5.