World Titanium Resources is developing the Tier 1 Toliara Sands Project north of the port of Toliara in south-west Madagascar. The Ranobe Mine is projected to produce 407,000tpa of ilmenite and 44,000tpa of zircon rich concentrate per annum over an initial 21 year mine life. This first phase of development utilises around 17% of the 959 million tonne of Mineral Resource defined at Ranobe.
The overall THM grade of 6.1% for the Ranobe Mineral Resource is high by minerals sands industry standards and the initial Ranobe mine plan focuses on an Ore Reserve of 161 million tonne averaging 8.2% THM, resulting in one of the highest in-situ ore values in the sector. With no overburden and very low slimes (<5%) simple dry mining can be utilised.
The heavy mineral at Ranobe consists predominantly of ilmenite making up approximately 90% of the final products. The project also benefits significantly from the presence of much higher value zircon and rutile which, as a zircon rich concentrate, contribute about 10% of the product volume and around 45% of the projected revenue. The ilmenite and zircon rich concentrate can be easily separated from the ore utilising standard equipment and existing infrastructure can be leveraged to minimise the initial development capital.
The Definitive Engineering Study (DES) completed in August 2012 confirmed that a low capital investment, low technical risk and simple mineral sands operation can be built using proven technology. It envisages utilising a simple mining and processing route at 8Mt of ore per annum from the second half of 2014
The Ranobe Mine is a robust project with projected high operating margins and relatively low development capital compared to similar scale mineral sands projects. The forecast life of mine average operating cash cost of $116/t of product combined with life of mine average revenue of $271/t of product result in high forecast operating margins. When combined with the low capital intensity and absolute capital required for the initial development, currently estimated as $216m including working capital, the project is forecast to deliver an IRR of around 29% and an NPV10 of $310m over a 21 year life.
The infrastructure for the Ranobe Mine is inherently expandable and maximises the potential to incrementally scale up the operation. The 959 million tonne at 6.1% THM Mineral Resource at Ranobe could potentially sustain a life of more than 100 years at the planned initial production rate for the Ranobe Mine demonstrating the very long life of the Tier 1 Toliara Sands Project.
World Titanium Resources has a total exploration target of more than 4,700 million tonne in the Toliara Sands Exploration permits at Ranobe, Ankililoaka, Basibasy and Morombe, including the 959 million tonne at 6.1% THM Mineral Resource at Ranobe.