Australia: $800 Million Phosphate Mine Approved In Mount Isa

Legend International Holdings was given approval for a second mining lease in the North West Queensland Minerals Province. An $800 million mining lease in the Mount Isa area has been approved and is expected to create more than 1,300 jobs and inject a further $200 million a year into the local economy.

Legend estimates that there are almost 200 million tonnes of mineral reserves in the Georgina Basin area, and they expect the mine to have an operational life of 60 years and they are planning to build a fertilizer plant in Mount Isa and export the product via the Port of Townsville. Proven and probable mineral reserves of recoverable, commercially useable and internationally marketable phosphate rock concentrate estimated at some 55.5 million tonnes with a content of 33% P2O5 (72% bpl). There is planned a staged development of two granted mining leases and a third lease covering the project. For the first five years mine production is expected to start first with high-grade ore from the Paradise North deposit and the larger Paradise South deposit is then planned to provide high quality phosphate rock for the fertilizer plant (600,000 tonnes DAP/MAP) planned for Mount Isa. Legend is looking into upgrading the fertilizer production to 1.2 million tonnes per annum. Demand for fertilizers is rising as shrinking arable land and rising world food demand spurs consumption and takeovers.

The company still needs to complete an Environmental Impact Study (EIS), where the main concern is the water quality in the Leichhardt River catchment.

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