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West Balranald is a rutile-rich deposit in the Riverina district of south western New South Wales. Owing to its relative depth (approximately 60 metres below surface), Iluka has over several years assessed the potential to develop West Balranald via a novel, remotely operated, underground mining (UGM) technology. This technology enables access to ore bodies previously thought uneconomic, with marked reductions in both environmental disturbance and carbon intensity relative to traditional extraction techniques.

The definitive feasibility study for Balranald was completed in late 2022. This confirmed the technical and commercial viability of Iluka’s UGM technology and Iluka’s Board approved the final investment decision for Balranald in February 2023.

Representing a capital investment of $480 million, Balranald will deliver approximately 250 jobs during construction and approximately 270 jobs during operation, including contractors.

This development enhances Iluka’s portfolio offering of high grade, high quality critical minerals products produced in Australia. This includes rutile, zircon, synthetic rutile and rare earths.


Phone:  1800 305 993 (Enquiries and Complaints)
Email: [email protected]
Address: PO Box 241, Balranald NSW 2715

Environment and Community Documents

Balranald EPBC Referral 2012-6509
Balranald Mineral Sands Development Consent SSD-5285
Balranald Mineral Sands MOD 1 - Extension of Underground Mining Trial
MOD 2 - Development Layout Figures | Planning Portal - Department of Planning and Environment (
Environment Protection Licence 20795
Mining Lease ML1736
Mining Lease ML1855

Commonwealth Environmental Impact Statement

The Balranald Mineral Sands Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is the principal approval document required by the Commonwealth Government. The EIS assesses the Balranald Project against matters of national environmental significance (as defined under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999). 

Iluka Resources submitted a draft EIS to the Department of Environment in February 2016. Following a public exhibition period in which submissions were invited, Iluka revised the draft EIS and submitted the final EIS in July 2016. Approval was received 6 January 2017.

The final EIS can be accessed below. 

Approvals documentation
Commonwealth Environment Decision on Approval

Commonwealth Environmental Impact Statement
Executive Summary: Balranald Mineral Sands Project Commonwealth EIS

EIS Volume 1
Commonwealth EIS: Main Report Part A
Commonwealth EIS: Main Report Part B
Commonwealth EIS: Main Report Part C
Appendix A: Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines
Appendix B: Study Team

EIS Volume 2
Appendix C: Biodiversity Assessment

EIS Volume 3
Appendix D: Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment (Part 1 of 5) (PDF, 10 MB)
Appendix D: Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment (Part 2 of 5) (PDF, 9 MB)
Appendix D: Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment (Part 3 of 5) (PDF, 8 MB)
Appendix D: Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment (Part 4 of 5) (PDF, 9 MB)
Appendix D: Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment (Part 5 of 5) (PDF, 10 MB)

EIS Volume 4
Appendix E: Non-Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment (PDF, 10 MB)
Appendix F: Rehabilitation and Closure Strategy (PDF, 4 MB)
Appendix G: Water Assessment (PDF, 12 MB)
Appendix H: Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Assessment Report (PDF, 9 MB)

EIS Volume 5
Appendix I: Groundwater Assessment (Part 1 of 3) (PDF, 11 MB)
Appendix I: Groundwater Assessment (Part 2 of 3) (PDF, 10 MB)
Appendix I: Groundwater Assessment (Part 3 of 3) (PDF, 12 MB)
Appendix J: Surface Water Management Report (PDF, 10 MB)
Appendix K: Geochemistry Assessment (PDF, 7 MB)

EIS Volume 6
Appendix L: Radiation Risk Assessment (PDF, 10 MB)
Appendix M: Social Assessment (PDF, 8 MB)
Appendix N: Economic Assessment (PDF, 2 MB)

NSW Environmental Impact Statement

Iluka Resources submitted its Balranald Mineral Sands Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to the New South Wales Government in May 2015. 

The EIS is the principal approval document required for the Balranald Project to progress towards development. The EIS addresses 49 government requirements and involved more than four years of rigorous technical, environmental and consultative studies. 

On 5 April 2016 the delegate for the New South Wales Minister for Planning approved the development application for the Balranald Mineral Sands Project.

Aprovals documents
Balranald Mineral Sands Project Development Consent (PDF, 3.4 MB)
New South Wales Environmental Impact Statement
Executive Summary
Executive Summary: Balranald Mineral Sands Project EIS
EIS Volume 1
EIS_Main Report Part A
EIS_Main Report Part B
EIS_Main Report Part C
EIS Volume 2
Appendix A Secretary's Environmental Impact   Assessment Requirements
Appendix B Study Team
Appendix C Agricultural Impact Statement
Appendix D Noise Assessment
Appendix E Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas Assessment
EIS Volume 3
Appendix F Biodiversity Assessment
EIS Volume 4
Appendix G Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment (reduced version)
EIS Volume 5
Appendix H Surface Water Management Report
Appendix I Balranald Mineral Sands Project Groundwater Assessment (Part 1 of 3)
Appendix I Balranald Mineral Sands Project Groundwater Assessment (Part 2 of 3)
Appendix I Balranald Mineral Sands Project Groundwater Assessment (Part 3 of 3)
Appendix J Groundwater Dependant Ecosystems Assessment Report
EIS Volume 6
Appendix K Water Assessment
Appendix L Soil Resource Assessment
EIS Volume 7
Appendix M Rehabilitation and Closure Strategy
Appendix N Transport Assessment
Appendix O Social Assessment
EIS Volume 8
Appendix P Economic Assessment
Appendix Q Geochemistry Assessment
Appendix R Non-Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment
Appendix S Radiation Risk Assessment


Iluka Resources  is a global critical 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 Resources Ltd (Iluka) have approval to develop a mineral sands mine in south‐western New South Wales (NSW), known as the Balranald Mineral Sands Project (the Balranald Project). It includes construction, open cut mining, primary processing and rehabilitation of two linear mineral sand deposits, known as West Balranald and Nepean. These mineral sands deposits are located approximately 12 kilometres (km) and 66 km north‐west of the town of Balranald respectively.

The development is focused on the rutile and zircon rich West Balranald deposit, which also contains material quantities of rare earth minerals.

The high value rare earth elements contained in Iluka’s mineral products, particularly neodymium and praseodymium, are used to create powerful permanent magnets. Permanent magnets are used in clean energy and high-end technology solutions including wind turbines and electric vehicles.

Rare earths are also used in catalytic converters for vehicle emission control of hybrid and petrol-fuelled cars, in modern rechargeable batteries, and as an alloying agent to create high-strength metals in aircraft engines.

Construction is currently scheduled to commence in quarter 4, 2023 with first production expected in late 2024.

The underground mine life is estimated to be 9.5 years.

The product will be concentrated on site at Balranald and then transported by truck to a port in Victoria, where it will then be shipped to Iluka’s processing and refining assets in Western Australia. We anticipate approximately 26 trucks per day.

As part of the government approvals process, Iluka is required to conduct a range of studies addressing potential impacts. Studies must show a detailed understanding of baseline, or pre-mining conditions and explain how potential impacts will be avoided, remedied or managed.

The regulatory obligations the project is likely to be subject to include ongoing environmental monitoring, management plans, reporting and auditing.

Iluka has undertaken an air quality impact assessment (AQIA) which estimates the risk of particulate matter and greenhouse gas emissions to be low to negligible.

Iluka has undertaken a Noise Impact Assessment (NIA) to assess construction and operation noise associated with underground mining.

Noise modelling for 24/7 operations considered a number of factors, with the assessment concluding that predicted noise levels will satisfy the approved Balranald Project noise criteria.

The company applies radiation management practices that align with international best practice as defined by the International Commission on Radiological Protection, the International Atomic Energy Agency, as well as the relevant jurisdiction’s legislation.

We identify, assess and control risks associated with NORM, radon gas and human activity through all phases of our activities – exploration, project development, operations, rehabilitation and closure. Iluka’s Group Radiation Management Standard and site-specific radiation management plans ensure exposure to radiation meets the prescribed statutory limits and is as low as is reasonably achievable.

Waste will be managed in accordance with the Waste Management Plan, and disposed of appropriately.

Iluka has undertaken a Rehabilitation and Closure Assessment (RCA) to assess rehabilitation and closure objectives for underground mining.

Progressive rehabilitation is proposed with monitoring of the rehabilitated areas to demonstrate a sustainable and stable landform has been achieved.

During the construction phase, the Project is expected to employ a workforce of up to 250 people. During operations, a workforce of up to 270, including contractors.

A portion of our workforce from the local region.

Iluka will establish an on-site purpose built accommodation facility with modern amenities to provide initially 161 (but no greater than 350) single rooms/quarters to accommodate peak construction and operational workforces.


The project will also contribute to stability and certainty in the local and regional communities. Economic benefits will extend to local, state and national levels through royalty payments and export sales.

Proposed road intersection upgrades and improvements will support objectives around maintaining local and regional road networks.

Iluka acknowledges that sites of cultural significance provide Aboriginal people and all Australians with a crucial link to our shared past, present and future health and wellbeing. Sites of significance are of immense historical, cultural, scientific, educational, economic, conservation, environmental and social importance to us all and especially to Aboriginal people.

The local Traditional Owners of those sites have a deep cultural and spiritual connection to Country that comes with a responsibility to act as protectors and custodians which Iluka respects. To ensure sites are protected and managed appropriately partnerships based on trust, integrity, respect and transparency are essential.

To that end Iluka has and will continue to maintain positive relationships with the Traditional Owners via a range of internal and external protocols.

We value the relationships we have developed with stakeholders and the community and will continue to provide opportunities to have genuine input that informs our operations and decision making.

Please register your details at the top of this page, to keep up to date with the project.

Alternatively you can reach us by email at [email protected], online at, or by calling our 24-hour community line on 1800 305 993.