Restart of Jacinth-Ambrosia: Iluka Resources Limited (ASX: ILU) announced the restart of Mining and concentrating activities at J-A (Eucla Basin, South Australia) in December 2017. These activities were suspended in April 2016 for a period of 18 to 24 months to allow heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) inventory to be drawn down during a time of subdued market demand. Further, the restart of J-A reflects the continued tightening of the zircon market and follows the substantial draw down on HMC inventory over 2017. Restart costs are expected to be ~$7 million and production costs are expected to be ~$6 million in 2017. Importantly, Jacinth-Ambrosia remains the primary source of zircon for Iluka as it expects total group zircon production to be approximately 300kt in 2018 with the drawdown of zircon inventory over the course of 2018. Work on the unconventional mining development at Balranald (Murray Basin, New South Wales) has continued in 2017. Further work this year will focus on testing an improved mining head, in a simulated environment, to assess whether it can sustain adequate life cycle times given the abrasive nature of the mining unit’s operational setting. The carrying value of the Balranald project is expected to be $45 million at the half year, with expected spend of $3 million in the second half of 2017.
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