Sheffield Resources’ $347 million Thunderbird Mineral Sands project in Western Australia takes a step closer to beginning development with the company winning the vital National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) ruling, paving the way for a mining lease to be granted.
In June 2017, Mount Jowlaenga Polygon 2 - the Traditional Owners - lodged an appeal to dispute that Sheffield Resources had not acted in good faith during the negotiation period for an agreement for the Thunderbird project. Earlier this week, NNTT has determined that Sheffield Resources did act in good faith in its negotiations with the Traditional Owners.
Sheffield Resources has reached a co-existence term agreement with the Traditional Owners through the Traditional Owner Negotiation Committee.
With appeal resolved, the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety can begin to finalise a mining lease grant for the Thunderbird Mineral Sands project.
Sheffield Resources will remain committed to concluding a native title agreement with the Traditional Owners by the end of the year.
“We are pleased with the positive determination made by the NNTT. We have received overwhelming support from local communities and Local, State and Federal Governments for the development of Thunderbird.
“We are also pleased with the collaborative efforts made by both parties in agreeing non-binding and indicative terms ahead of formalisation and authorisation of an Agreement,” Sheffield Resources Managing Director Bruce McFadzean said.
Project location (source: Sheffield Resources)
The project is expected to support up to 220 jobs during construction with a further 280 local production jobs during a 42-year mine life. Sheffield is anticipating approximately 40 per cent Aboriginal employment by the eighth year of operations together with $100 million in royalties to Traditional Owners for the entire life of the Thunderbird mine.
“It is a world-class, multi-decade project that will create hundreds of local jobs, generate substantial business opportunities and support economic development in the Kimberley.
“We look forward to working closely with the Traditional Owners and local communities on employment and business opportunities as part of our commitment to the development of Thunderbird,” Mr McFadzean said.
Subject to approvals, Sheffield Resources is anticipating for first production at the mine in mid-2020.
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