This information has not been updated since 2013 and is provided for general reference purposes. For the latest data, please see Australia's Identified Mineral Resources 2016.
Phosphate rock is the main source of phosphorous which is essential to all forms of life. It is a key component of DNA, it is used in the control of energy transfer and storage at the cellular level as well as playing an important role in metabolic processes. Plants require three major nutrients for life - nitrogen (N), potassium (K) and phosphorous (P). There is no substitute for phosphorous in agriculture.
Phosphate rock is a general term referring to rock with high concentrations of phosphate minerals. Phosphate rock is primarily mined to produce chemical fertilisers for the agriculture sector, with 90% of production going towards this purpose. Phosphorous is also used in animal feed supplements, food preservatives, baking flour, pharmaceuticals, anticorrosion agents, cosmetics, fungicides, insecticides, detergents, ceramics, water treatment and metallurgy.
The most common source of phosphate rock is phosphorite, which is a marine sedimentary deposit. The other source is guano, an accumulation of bird or bat excrement. The most common phosphate minerals belong to the apatite group, Ca5 (F,Cl,OH)(PO4)3, with main minerals being collophane, francolite and dahlite.
Australia has two main phosphate mines. The larger is in northwest Queensland (Qld) at Phosphate Hill, 140 kilometres southeast of Mount Isa, and the other is on the remote offshore territory of Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. Phosphate Hill is a world-class phosphorite resource that is close to the surface and easy to access and mine. The rock is ideal for the manufacture of high analysis mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP) and di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) fertilisers for domestic and international use.
Christmas Island produces quality rock phosphate from guano deposits comprised of a sought-after combination of fluorohydroxyapatite, calcium, iron and aluminium. Christmas Island phosphate is exported to the Asia-Pacific region with products used widely as direct application fertiliser in the palm oil sector. In addition, Christmas Island phosphate is used in the manufacture of various fertilisers. Its relatively high phosphorus pentoxide (P2O5) grade improves many straight and compound fertilisers and its iron and aluminium content betters the granule strength of a range of acidulated fertilisers. In addition, its reactive characteristics enhance compacted fertilisers that do not undergo chemical processes.
DAP and MAP fertilisers have different ratios of phosphorous and nitrogen, and have slightly different applications. Both products are generally produced as granules with a diameter of between 2-4 millimetres. DAP (20% P and 18% N) is used for broad-acre products such as cereals, legumes, fodder and horticultural crops as well as for dairy and newly established pastures. MAP (22% P and 10% N) assists with early crop growth and enhances phosphorous uptake in broad-acre crops. Ideally, phosphate rock for fertiliser production will contain approximately 30% P2O5, around 5% calcium carbonate and less than 4% iron and aluminium oxides.
(% of Accessible EDR)
|EDR||Paramarginal||Submarginal||Inferred||Accessible EDR||Mine Production||World Economic Resources||World Mine Production|
|Phosphate Rock||Mt||289 (33%)||869||312||0||2089||869||3.09||67 500||210|
|Contained P2O5||Mt||51 (34%)||148||65||0||354||148||n.a.||n.a.||n.a.|
Australia's Economic Demonstrated Resources (EDR) of phosphate rock in 2012 was 869 million tonnes (Mt). This is slightly changed from the 2011 EDR of 945 Mt because some deposits have been reassessed owing to their geology and phosphate content. For example, Nolans Bore in the Northern Territory (NT) has an average P2O5 content of 12% but is primarily regarded as a rare earths deposit. Any phosphate produced would most likely be as a co-product or by-product rather than as a bulk commodity. As a result, Geoscience Australia has not regarded this kind of phosphate deposit as phosphate rock. However, the phosphate in this kind of deposit is included in the EDR of contained P2O5.
Australia's EDR of phosphate has rapidly increased from about 2009 (Figure 1). From 2007 to 2008, there was a significant price spike for phosphorous (Figure 2 and Figure 3), triggering increased interest and exploration, which has flowed through in subsequent years to increased resource definition. EDR of contained P2O5 in 2012 was unchanged from 2011 at 148 Mt.
Australia's total demonstrated resource of rock phosphate is 1181 Mt, of which 312 Mt (26%) is classified as paramarginal. Australia's total demonstrated resource of contained P2O5 is 213 Mt, of which 65 Mt (31%) is classified as paramarginal. All of the demonstrated phosphate occurrences in Qld and the NT, with the exception of Nolans Bore (NT), occur as phosphorites in the Georgina Basin, accounting for almost all of Australia's demonstrated resources of phosphate rock and 91% of Australia's demonstrated resources of contained P2O5. The remaining demonstrated resources occur at Christmas Island, Nolans Bore and the deposits of Mount Weld, Balla Balla, Dandaragan and Cummins Range in Western Australia (WA).
About 99% of Australia's Inferred Resources of phosphate rock (2068 Mt of a total of 2089 Mt) and 93% of Australia's Inferred Resources of contained P2O5 (329 Mt of a total 354 Mt) also occurs in the Georgina Basin phosphorites.
Table 1: Australia's EDR of phosphate, December 2012.
|Deposit||Location||Ore Type||EDR (Mt)||Average P2O5 Grade (%)||P2O5 (Mt)|
|Phosphate Hill||Queensland||Phosphorite||168.6 (a)||25.5 (a)||41.38 (a)|
|Nolans Bore||Northern Territory||Fluorapatite||25.3||12.0||3.04|
|Mount Weld||Western Australia||Carbonatite||56.3||14.34||8.07|
|Christmas Island||Indian Ocean||Guano||(b)||(b)||(b)|
(a) Incitec Pivot has not published updated resource figures since acquiring Phosphate Hill in 2006.
(b) Figures not publically available.
Published grades for EDR range from 8.7% P2O5 at Paradise South to 30.0% P2O5 at Wonarah. Traditionally, phosphate rock needs to have an average grade of around 30% P2O5 for direct shipping. However, as the availability of high-grade resources is diminishing and demand is projected to increase, companies are increasingly evaluating projects in which lower grade phosphate resources could be mined and then beneficiated through processes such as washing, flotation and calcining. Similarly, milling operations in which phosphate products are produced as a by- or co-product are potentially economic at low grades.
Phosphate prices, as sourced from the World Bank, are expressed in the amount of US$ paid per metric tonne for free-alongside-ship (f.a.s.) Moroccan phosphate (70% bone phosphate of lime (BPL)). The long-term annual price chart for phosphate rock (Figure 2) shows that, for the most part, phosphate prices are generally flat but subject to price spikes from time to time. The price spike in 1974-75 was caused by the Moroccan Office Cherifien des Phosphates radically increasing the price for phosphate, followed quickly by Nauru and North American producers. Phosphate demand, however, slumped and prices gradually returned to the long-term average. The price spike in 2007-08 was a result of two economic factors combined with an already overheated market: The first was real increased fertiliser demand for food in developing regions (particularly Asia) and, importantly, for the emerging biofuel industry. The second factor was the resulting speculation about this increased demand and its implications for food security. The fact that prices have not yet returned to the long-term real dollar trend is possibly a truer reflection of the increased demand for fertilisers in Asia and other developing regions.
Starting in 2007, Figure 3 shows the monthly price chart for phosphate, including the peak phosphate price of US$430 in 2008 before the crash of the global financial crisis (GFC) took prices to lows of US$90 in mid to late 2009. By 2011, prices had recovered from the lows of the GFC and steadily climbed to US$202 by November. They fell in 2012, dipping to US$175 in May and June, recovered by August 2012 to US$185, but have again fallen away since January 2013 to be just US$120 in October 2013.
Virtually all of Australia's Economically Demonstrated Resources of phosphate are accessible. A small resource on Christmas Island is inaccessible because of environmental restrictions.
By end of December 2012, Joint Ore Reserve Committee (JORC) Code reserves in the Proved and Probable Reserve categories comprised 289.3 Mt of phosphate rock and 50.9 Mt of contained P2O5, accounting for approximately one third of accessible EDR with the remainder defined as Measured and Indicated Resources. This is a slight increase from the 280 Mt of phosphate rock and 45 Mt of contained P2O5 of the year before.
Data on exploration expenditure for phosphate are not available in published statistics. However, exploration for phosphate is reduced from previous years with the bulk of activity occurring at advanced projects.
The Arganara (Central Australian Phosphate Limited) and Ammarroo 1/Barrow Creek 1 (Rum Jungle Resources Limited) phosphate projects in central Australia have seen the most exploration activity. These two projects are contiguous and upcoming exploration work will concentrate on assessing the mineralised corridor between them with some 300 holes for more than 10 000 m planned to be completed by the end of 2013.
During 2012, Rum Jungle drilled 1192 reverse circulation (RC) holes totalling 35 094 metres on a closely spaced grid of 100x100 metres at Barrow Creek 1 and, by October 2013, the company had completed infill and extensional resource drilling with 69 diamond drill holes for 2091 metres as well as 214 RC/air core drill holes for 4849 metres. In addition, Rum Jungle completed 130 holes for 1262 metres at Ammaroo 1 and another 131 air core holes for 6442 metres at the nearby Murray Downs prospect.In WA, Potash West NL has been exploring the Dandaragan Trough north of Perth for greensand deposits containing both potash and phosphate. In June 2012, to enable resource estimation, the company completed an air core drilling program of 83 vertical NQ diameter holes for 3215 metres over 10 square kilometres. In August 2012, the company completed four diamond drill holes for 148 metres for greensand bulk density determinations.
There are two main locations for the production of phosphate rock in Australia: Phosphate Hill in northwest Qld and Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. In 2012, Incitec Pivot Limited produced 2.38 Mt of phosphate rock from Phosphate Hill (down from 2.49 Mt in 2011) and Phosphate Resources Limited mined 662 632 dry tonnes of phosphate and shipped 716 600 dry tonnes of bulk rock phosphate and 44 070 dry tonnes of bagged phosphate dust from Christmas Island. Bagged phosphate dust was lower than in 2011 because shipments were affected by the port closure following the Tycoon Incident in early January 2012 in which the general cargo vessel MV Tycoon broke its mooring and foundered in severe weather spilling oil and phosphate close to shore.
Several small operations in South Australia (SA) produced 1863 tonnes of phosphate rock in 2012, which is slightly up on the 1650 tonnes produced in 2011. The main South Australian producer (around 1000 tonnes per year) is Catford's Cut, located about four kilometres east of the small settlement of Tarcowie. The phosphate is low grade (around 6%) but it is used locally as an agricultural fertiliser as it contains desirable levels of trace elements.
Figures from Geoscience Australia and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) indicate that total world resources of phosphate rock are approximately 67 500 Mt. Australia's EDR of phosphate rock comprises about 1% of the world's resources. Morocco and Western Sahara jointly hold about 75%, followed by China with 6% and Algeria and Syria with 3%. South Africa, Jordan, Russia and the United States of America (USA) each hold around 2% of the world's phosphate resources.
The USGS estimates that world production of phosphate rock in 2012 totalled 210 Mt (198 Mt in 2011), with China producing 89 Mt, the USA 29.2 Mt, Morocco/Western Sahara 28 Mt and Russia 11.3 Mt, all slightly up from 2011. Australia produced approximately 3 Mt of phosphate rock in 2012, ranking 10th in the world.
Phosphate Resources Limited mined 662 632 dry tonnes of phosphate in 2012 on Christmas Island and shipped 716 600 dry tonnes of bulk rock phosphate along with 44 070 dry tonnes of bagged phosphate dust in 2012. The most recent figures are for the 2012-13 financial year and state that the company shipped 672 000 tonnes of phosphate product.
In June 2013, the mining lease for Christmas Island was extended for another 21 years by the Commonwealth, covering some 1755 hectares. Mining is now permitted until 2034 but Phosphate Resources Limited continues to have problems gaining clearance permits over the mining lease.
The company has a program of capital works and recently installed the first phase of a cascade loading system which is expected to increase loading rates and improve environmental outcomes. The company is also continuing a major structural upgrade of the plant and facilities, including the fuel farm. There are plans also to upgrade the burner systems in the dryers and finalise the cantilever loading improvements.
Arganara: In August 2012, Nupower Resources Limited (now Central Australian Phosphate Limited) released a maiden Inferred Resource for the Arganara deposit of 310 Mt at 15% P2O5 using a 10% cut off. The estimates were based on an X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis of 387 RC drill holes for 14 480 metres of drilling. In March 2013, the company applied to the Northern Territory Department of Resources for a mineral lease over the prospect.
In February 2013, Central Australian Phosphate received a hostile takeover bid by Rum Jungle Resources Limited and in November 2013 Rum Jungle announced it had acquired more than 90% of Central Australian Phosphate and was moving to compulsory acquisition of the remaining shares as per the Corporations Act 2001.
Meanwhile, Central Australian Phosphate, as a controlled subsidiary of Rum Jungle, has continued with its exploration program aimed at assessing the contiguous mineralised corridor between Arganara and the Barrow Creek 1 deposit. Based on limited drilling, a potential phosphate resource is conceptualised to lie between the two known deposits. The companies received a Clearing Certificate from the Central Land Council in the Northern Territory and work began in October 2013 with a plan to drill in excess of 300 holes for more than 10 000 metres by the end of 2013.
Ammaroo 1/Barrow Creek 1: Rum Jungle Resources Limited's Ammaroo Phosphate Project covers a number of exploration tenements over 175 kilometres of strike of phosphorite in the Georgina Basin, approximately 280 kilometres northeast of Alice Springs.
In December 2011, Rum Jungle Resources released a resource upgrade for Barrow Creek 1 comprising an Indicated Resource of 13 Mt at 16.4% P2O5 and an Inferred Resource of 240 Mt at 15% P2O5. The company followed up with resource infill and extensional drilling during 2012 drilling 1192 RC holes for 35 094 metres on a closely spaced grid of 100x100 metres. Additionally, the company completed southern extensional drilling at Ammaroo 1 (30 holes for 1262 metres) and exploration drilling at nearby Murray Downs (131 air core holes for 6442 metres).
In January 2013, the company announced a further upgrade at Barrow Creek 1 to a Measured Resource of 136 Mt at 15.7% P2O5, an Indicated Resource of 42 Mt at 14.9% P2O5 and an Inferred Resource of 60 Mt at 12.0% P2O5 using a 10% P2O5 cut off. As at October 2013, the company had completed infill and extensional resource drilling with 69 diamond drill holes at Barrow Creek 1 for 2091 metres as well as 214 RC/air core drill holes for 4849 metres.
Rum Jungle also completed a scoping study on the Barrow Creek 1 deposit that identified three options for the economic development of the deposit accounting for capital and operating costs, production and transport:
- Starting as a Direct Shipping Ore (DSO) operation, ramping up to 1.8 Mt per annum (Mtpa), switching to beneficiation by floatation when grade drops below traditional DSO levels.
- Beneficiation through flotation from the start, ramping up to 1.8 Mtpa of 30-32% P2O5.
- Production of 540 000 tonnes per annum of merchant grade phosphoric acid.
All three options were found to be viable for the development of the deposit as a stand-alone operation with an operating life in excess of 25 years.
Rum Jungle is in the process of taking over Central Australian Phosphate which owns the nearby Arganara phosphate deposit. Combined, the Arganara and Barrow Creek 1 deposits have a resource of approximately 550 Mt of phosphate. The company has engaged WorselyParsons Limited to lead a pre-feasibility study for the combined Arganara-Barrow Creek 1 project, with results expected during the first half of 2014.
The company has also commenced a detailed program of metallurgical, mineralogical and beneficiation testwork. Chemical analyses of the phosphate ore indicates that it is low in uranium and cadmium but has higher than normal levels of lead compared to the Moroccan benchmark standard, which is typical for Georgina Basin phosphates.
Finally, the company has initiated good-faith negotiations with the NT Central Land Council to reach an agreement under the Native Title Act that will facilitate acquisition of a mineral lease, as well as tenure for a transport corridor.
Nolans Bore: Arafura Resources Limited published a resource upgrade in March 2012 of 46 Mt at 11% P2O5, 2.5% rare earth oxides (REO) and 0.41% U3O8. This total resource is comprised of a 4.3 Mt Measured Resource (12% P2O5, 3.4% REO and 0.61% U3O8), a 21 Mt Indicated Resource (12% P2O5, 2.5% REO and 0.41% U3O8) and a 21 Mt Inferred Resource (10% P2O5, 2.3% REO and 0.37% U3O8).
In December 2012, the company published a maiden Probable Reserve of 24 Mt at 12% P2O5, 2.8% REO and 0.45% U3O8. Based on an open-cut mining method and a maximum beneficiation throughput of 1.1 Mtpa, these figures support a 22-year mine life with 95% of Measured and Indicated Resources converted to Reserves.
The company has continued work at Nolans Bore with activities such as proving up the beneficiation circuit, commissioning a sulphation demonstration plant, baseline environmental studies, technical reviews and optimisation programs. The recent depressed rare earths market has seen the company's main focus shift to boosting the project economics with targeted cuts of up to $1 billion, which includes the option of moving the chemical processing plant from Whyalla (SA) to close to the mine site in the Northern Territory. Arafura is preparing a definitive feasibility study and in September 2013, it announced a memorandum of understanding with Shenghe Resources Holding Co Ltd with a view to forming a strategic partnership.
Wonarah: Minemakers Limited describes Wonarah as the largest known phosphate deposit in Australia, with only 15% of known mineralisation having been sufficiently drilled to enable a resource estimate to be defined. The deposit has a Measured Resource of 78 Mt at 20.8% P2O5, an Indicated Resource of 222 Mt at 17.5% P2O5 and an Inferred Resource of 542 Mt at 18.0% P2O5. The Northern Territory Government has designated Wonarah as a major project and the company has reached a life-of-mine Mining Agreement with the Traditional Owners that covers mining, processing and fertiliser production.
In June 2013, the Northern Territory Environmental Protection Authority granted approval for the company's proposed phosphate processing method - 'improved hard process' (IHP), which is a thermal technology that improves efficiency of superphosphoric acid production from rock phosphate. In November 2013, the company announced that its IHP demonstration plant had begun phosphate agglomeration feed to its kiln with expectation that production would begin in the near future.
Geolsec: The Geolsec phosphate resource is located near Rum Jungle, 65 kilometres south of Darwin in the sedimentary Geolsec Formation deposited around the Waterhouse Dome. Korab Resources Limited plans to supply the agricultural sector with finely ground rock phosphate to be used for direct application for pastoralists around Darwin, mango growers in the Ord River (WA) and Pine Creek (NT) regions and as an organic fertiliser in WA and the eastern states of Australia.
The company aims to develop a simple quarrying operation with no processing other than grinding and bagging. In December 2011, Korab received authorisation from the Northern Territory Department of Resources to conduct mining activities at the mineral lease covering the Geolsec project but owingto the presence of uranium in some parts of the deposit, not all of the required authorisations for quarrying have been obtained.
No exploration work has been reported for the deposit during 2012, but in September 2013 the company announced that it had engaged consultants with a view to obtaining the necessary quarrying permits. The company believes that the elevated uranium levels occur in small areas that can easily be defined and isolated. Results show that uranium oxide levels are generally low, mostly ranging between 40 and 120 ppm, which compares well to the typical global range of 30 to 250 ppm uranium oxide for phosphate rock. The company also announced that it had received approvals for a drilling program at Geolsec, which will help define long-term development plans.
The company claims that Geolsec has the best logistics of any phosphate rock project in Australia, being located near a major highway, rail, gas pipeline and power. There are no figures compliant with the JORC Code published for the Geolsec phosphate resource but there is a historical pre-JORC Code resource of 1.3 Mt at 12% P2O5.
Highland Plains: The NT portion of the Highland Plains phosphate deposit is owned by Phosphate Australia Limited. In 2009, the company released a maiden Inferred Resource of 56 Mt at 16% P2O5 but has since corrected this to 53 Mt at 16% P2O5. In 2011 and 2012, the company had been investigating the potential for beneficiating the resource through froth flotation to a grade of around 34% P2O5 and transporting the slurry by pipeline to a barging facility in the Gulf of Carpentaria. However, in March 2013, Phosphate Australia reported that the project camp had been demobilised and sold, and all outstanding rehabilitation requirements closed out with a view to the possible sale of the project.
The company also has exploration permits for the geologically along-strike Alexandria, Alroy and Buchanan Dam prospects (some 130-170 km distant from Highland Plains) from which historical phosphate occurrences have been recorded.
Highland Plains: The Qld portion of the Highland Plains phosphate deposit is owned by Legend International Holdings Inc and was included in the withdrawn 2012 float of Paradise Phosphate Limited on the Australian Stock Exchange. As part of the 2012 exploration program, Legend collected 552 samples from Highland Plains for assaying following a drilling program in 2011. The company also collected 454 samples from the nearby Lily Creek- Sherrin Creek phosphate deposit and 446 samples from the Quita Creek phosphate deposit. To date, no further drilling has been announced and resources remain at a historical, pre-JORC Code estimation of 84 Mt at 13.4% P2O5.
Paradise North, Paradise South, D-Tree: The Paradise North and South deposits were previously known as the Lady Jane and Lady Annie deposits, respectively. These deposits, as well as D-Tree, are part of the Paradise Phosphate Project owned by Legend International Holdings Inc and were included in the withdrawn 2012 float of Paradise Phosphate on the Australian Securities Exchange. The company stated that it was in advanced negotiations with a potential strategic partner and that this course of action would provide greater shareholder returns.
Legend states that its initial focus is on developing the Paradise North project to mine and deliver phosphate DSO to potential Australasian and South Asian customers. The company has already shipped DSO to Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited's single superphosphate plant in New Zealand for trial production.
Legend's longer-term aim is to develop a beneficiation plant for the Paradise South deposit and, during 2012, the company completed a tendering process for the plant's design and construction. The tender packages cover the beneficiation plant, electrical power transmission, water supply and a tailings dam. In addition, the company received a patent for the beneficiation plant that describes a methodology for capturing ultrafine particles of phosphate that would otherwise be discarded as waste.
The company also lodged a Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Management Plan with the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) for the Paradise South project. In Oct 2012, the DEHP issued an Environmental Authority stipulating the environmental limits for an operation of up to 7.5 Mtpa of ore for 30 years. In addition, the DEHP accepted the Plan of Operations for Paradise North which approves the commencement of mining activity in 2013.
Phosphate Hill: Incitec Pivot Limited, a publically listed company on the Australian Securities Exchange, does not publish resource figures. The last publically available resource compliant with the JORC Code for Phosphate Hill dates from BHP Billiton's Annual Report 2006 and quotes a Proven Reserve of 29 Mt at 24.6% P2O5 and a Probable Reserve of 52 Mt at 24.3% P2O5.
Incitec Pivot continues to work the Phosphate Hill deposit, mining some 2.38 Mt in 2012. The phosphate rock feeds into the Phosphate Hill fertiliser plant, the company's largest, which has a current (reduced) annual capacity of 763 000 tonnes. The plant's capacity is reduced owing to production problems at the company's Mount Isa sulphuric acid plant. The sulphuric acid is used at Phosphate Hill, along with ammonia, to produce ammonium phosphates. Incitec Pivot also produces superphosphates at its Geelong and Portland plants.
Corella Bore: The Korella prospect at Corella Bore occurs immediately to the south of Phosphate Hill and also contains a rare earth (yttrium) resource occurring in the phosphate mineral xenotime (YPO4). In June 2012, Krucible Metals Limited received an Environmental Authority for level 1 mining activity on its lease over the Korella prospect and, in August 2012, the company was granted the Korella Phosphate Mining Lease for a quarry-style trial mining operation of the phosphate ore.
Corporate activities resulted in Krucible Metals signing a Heads of Agreement in August 2012 with Getax International, a Singaporean company, with a view to forming a joint venture for mining and trading the phosphate from the Korella project. However, the agreement was terminated in January 2013 and Krucible announced that they proposed to sell their phosphate tenements, including the Korella mining lease, to Australia New Agribusiness and Chemical Group Limited(formerly Daton Group Australia Limited) for $12.371 million. The Sale and Purchase Agreement between the two companies was executed in May 2013, with a plan for completion no later than 31 January 2014.
Current resources at the Korella prospect are reported as an Inferred Resource of 8.3 Mt at 27.3% P2O5 and 13.72 Mt at 0.70 kg/t Y2O3.
Cummins Range: In 2011, Kimberley Rare Earths Limited (now Anova Metals Limited) acquired 25% of the Cummins Range REO-uranium-phosphate deposit, 130 kilometres southwest of Halls Creek as part of a joint venture with Navigator Resources Limited. They completed a 77-hole RC drilling program for 4230 metres. However, in October 2012, the company terminated the joint venture agreement and relinquished its interest in Cummins Range, returning it to Navigator.
In September 2012, Navigator Resources announced a 17% increase in the Inferred Resource for Cummins Range to 4.9 Mt at 11.2% P2O5, 145 ppm U3O8, 1.74% REO and 48 ppm Th. Navigator also completed a pit optimisation study and a conceptual mine schedule in order to develop a preliminary evaluation study.
The future of Cummins Range is unknown because Navigator Resources went into voluntary administration in March 2013.
Balla Balla: The Balla Balla deposit is primarily a vanadium-titanium-magnetite (V-Ti-Fe) project but also contains a phosphate resource of 89.7 Mt at 3.74% P2O5. During 2012, the Balla Balla project was purchased by Forge Resources Limited from Atlas Iron Limited with the view to developing the V-Ti-Fe project. The company has no current plans to exploit the phosphate resource, but will be stockpiling the gabbro-host as it accesses the underlying tintanomagnetite ore zone, with a view to possibly processing the phosphate-rich gabbro in the future.
Dandaragan Trough: Potash West NL is principally exploring for potash in the greensand deposits of the Dandaragan Trough, 100 kilometres north of Perth. In addition to potash, the company also has an Indicated Resource of 90 Mt at 2.65% P2O5 at its Dinner Hill deposit. In September 2013, Potash West released the results of a scoping study that examined the production of superphosphate from the greensands at Dinner Hill. Results showed that the phosphate was easily concentrated with recoveries in excess of 30% P2O5.
Mount Weld: Mined by Lynas Corporation Limited, Mount Weld is one of the world's richest deposits of rare earth elements. It also contains a significant phosphate resource at the Swan, Coors and Crown deposits, with a total resource of 213 Mt at 13.9% P2O5. In March 2011, Lynas entered into an agreement with Forge Resources;to sub-lease designated areas of the orebody for the exploitation of niobium oxide at the Crown deposit and phosphate at the Swan deposit. However, in May 2011, the agreement was terminated by Lynas, citing shareholders' wishes that it focus its energy on the rare earths project.
McKay, A.D., Miezitis, Y., Porritt, K., Britt, A.F., Champion, D.C., Cadman, S., Towner, R., Summerfield, D., Whitaker, A., Huston, D., Jaireth, S., Sexton, M., Schofield, A., Hoatson, D., Senior, A.B. & Carson, L., 2014. Australia's Identified Mineral Resources 2013. Geoscience Australia, Canberra, Australia. http://dx.doi.org/10.11636/1327-1466.2013