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Iluka is proposing the construction and operation of the Atacama Project as an extension to the existing Jacinth Ambrosia (J-A) mine, approximately 200 km northwest of Ceduna. The Atacama Project is currently in pre-feasibility stages and a Mining Lease Application is being prepared.

The Project proposes the production of mineral concentrate of zircon and ilmenite from the Atacama mineral sands deposit. The Atacama Project site is located adjacent to the existing J-A mine and would be developed as a satellite deposit making use of J-A’s existing facilities to maximise efficiency and reduce impacts where possible. 


24/7 Iluka Community Hotline: 1800 305 993
Email: [email protected]



Iluka Resources (Iluka) is a global critical minerals company with expertise in exploration, development, mining, processing, marketing and rehabilitation.
With over 70 years’ of industry experience, Iluka is a leading global producer of zircon and the high grade titanium dioxide feedstocks rutile and synthetic rutile. Additionally, Iluka has an emerging portfolio in rare earth elements (rare earths).

Iluka’s portfolio includes active mine sites and processing facilities in Australia.

Iluka is proposing the construction and operation of the Atacama Project as an extension to the existing Jacinth Ambrosia (J-A) mine, approximately 200 km northwest of Ceduna. The Atacama Project is currently in pre-feasibility stages and a Mining Lease Application has been submitted. The project proposes to produce high-mineral concentrate of zircon and ilmenite from the Atacama mineral sands deposit.

The Atacama project site is located adjacent to the existing J-A mine and would be developed as a satellite deposit making use of J-A’s existing facilities to maximise efficiency and reduce impacts where possible. The project pre-feasibility study is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2023.

Iluka’s Jacinth-Ambrosia operation in South Australia is the world’s largest zircon mine. Comprising two contiguous deposits, Jacinth and Ambrosia, the mine is located approximately 800 kilometres from Adelaide and 270 kilometres from the Port of Thevenard and has been in operation since 2009.

The Jacinth-Ambrosia operation encompasses mining and wet concentration activities with heavy mineral concentrate transported to Iluka's Narngulu mineral separation plant in Western Australia for
final processing. The operation is capable of processing up to ~1,350 tonnes of ore per hour, which equates to ~120 tonnes per hour of heavy mineral concentrate.

Zircon is used in the manufacture of ceramics, including floor and wall tiles and sanitary ware, as well as in casting and foundry applications. Zircon is also used for the manufacture of zirconium chemicals that have a range of derivative applications, including zirconium metal.

Chloride ilmenite is a naturally occurring titanium dioxide feedstock, with titanium dioxide content of 58-62%. Ilmenite can be sold directly to pigment and other customers or is used as a feedstock for synthetic rutile production.

The Atacama project is currently in its pre-feasibility stage. Iluka are currently assessing the technical, environmental, social, and economic viability of the project. Iluka is conducting a staged assessment of the Atacama project with the prefeasibility study to be concluded in the second quarter of 2023.

The project is subject to approvals and ongoing regulation under several laws and regulations, including:
- Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
- South Australia Mining Act 1971
- South Australia Mining Regulations 2020
- South Australian Heritage Act 1988

The impacts of the project will be assessed through State and Federal legislation. A crucial part of this assessment is the application for a Mining Lease under the SA Mining Act. This Mining Lease Application requires a suite of technical environmental assessments to support the application. As part of this process, Iluka has met with key stakeholders to gather feedback on the project and address key concerns.

The Mining Lease Application was submitted late February 2023.

The Atacama project is located adjacent to the existing Iluka Jacinth-Ambrosia (J-A) mine, and would be developed as a ‘satellite mine’ to make use of existing J-A facilities. Existing J-A mine offices, emergency communications, transport and logistics capability would be utilized. Additional processing, Heavy Mineral Concentrate (HMC) storage, power generation and Reverse Osmosis water production modifications would be carried out at the existing mine site during project construction.

There will be no anticipated increase from current levels of truck movements transporting HMC to Port Thevenard during operations. The existing J-A haulage route and road trains would continue to be utilised during Atacama operations to transport product from site. Concentrates produced from the Atacama Project will be shipped from Port Thevenard to Western Australia for processing at Iluka's Narngulu mineral separation plant.

The project is anticipated to extend the J-A mine life by an additional four years through inclusion of the Atacama deposit

There will be no increase in the volume of water extracted from the borefield on a yearly basis. Water requirements will support processing, dust suppression and rehabilitation activities.

Much of the water required for the project will be used to produce low salt water from the hyper-saline bore water for use in rehabilitation and soil stabilization.

There will be an anticipated total workforce increase at J-A of approximately 300-350 operational employees.

Accommodation for the workforce will be at the existing J-A camp.  Upgrades for up to 175 more rooms are anticipated during operations.

Technical assessments completed to support the Mining Lease Application have assessed potential impacts associated with the project and provided mitigation and management measures as
necessary. Technical assessments to be undertaken for the project include:
- Social Impact Assessment
- Traffic and Transport Assessment
- Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment Report
- Air Quality Technical Assessment
- Biodiversity Technical Assessment
- Rehabilitation and Mine Closure
- Groundwater Impact Assessment
- Surface Water Impact Assessment

The Native Vegetation Clearance footprint (or disturbance Footprint) for the Project is around 2,000ha. Most native vegetation clearance will be in the proposed Atacama Mining Lease.

The open pit voids will be progressively rehabilitated, filled with overburden and soil material up to the elevation level of the existing swales. Rehabilitation success will be monitored.

Around an additional 300ha of already disturbed and cleared land at J-A will be needed as part of the Atacama project. Following the completion of operations at the site, all open pit voids would be
progressively rehabilitated, infilled with overburden and soil material up to the elevation level of the existing swales, and revegetated. Rehabilitation progress and success will be monitored following mine closure.

Iluka have worked closely with the Far West Coast Aboriginal Corporation (FWCAC) during J-A operations and have a current Native Title Mining Agreement (NTMA) in place. As part of the Atacama project, FWCAC have been involved in the planning and pre-feasibility stages of the project and are currently in the process of negotiating an additional NTMA to include the Atacama deposit.

FWCAC and Iluka’s current partnership aims to maximise social benefits for local Far West Coast people and communities, while also protecting and upholding Far West Coast Country and Heritage. Iluka will work under a Cultural Heritage Management Plan which will be implemented during the project’s construction and operational phases under the South Australian Heritage Act 1988, in addition to the  Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment Report during approvals. Aboriginal cultural heritage will be continually monitored and managed throughout the life project to the ensure ongoing protection and consideration of any potential Far West Coast sites, objects, and landscapes of significance.

Key socio-economic benefits and opportunities associated with the project are likely to include:
- Accommodation for the workforce will be at the existing J-A camp, which will be subject to expansion and upgrades
- Extended and maximised project life
- Enhanced economic benefits to the region, including increased employment and business opportunities
- Continued partnerships with the Far West Coast Aboriginal  corporation
- Continued social investment into the local area.

Once the Mining Lease Application has been lodged with the  Department for Energy and Mining, the application will be available to the general public alongside all supporting technical and environmental
assessments for a public exhibition period of a minimum of two weeks. Members of the public will be able provide feedback via submissions which Iluka will subsequently review and respond to. All submissions will receive a written notification on the final decision to grant or refuse the lease application and, if the lease has been granted, the terms and conditions of the lease.

A copy of the Atacama project Mining Lease Application will be available at the Ceduna Iluka Office, where additional project information can also be found.

For more information about the Atacama project or if you would like to receive future project updates, you can contact:
Email: [email protected]
24/7 Iluka Community hotline: 1800 305 993

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