Australia-based Sheffield Resources has started commissioning services at the Thunderbird mineral sands project located in northern Western Australia.

The mineral sands-focused company said that the construction of the Australian project is nearing completion along with the plant commissioning scheduled to begin during the September quarter.

Besides, the construction of the wet concentrate plant and concentrate upgrade plant is nearly complete.

The commissioning of the borefields, water and flocculant services in association with the commissioning of air services is currently undergoing.

Furthermore, tailings storage facility earthworks at the Thunderbird mineral sands project are complete as well as the water is being pumped from the borefields to the stormwater storage pond.

Located in the Kimberley region, the Thunderbird mineral sands project entails a total project funding requirement of A$484m ($314.5m).

The project is owned and developed by a joint venture Kimberley Mineral Sands, in which Sheffield Resources and Yansteel hold a 50% stake each.

Sheffield Resources said that mining contractor Piacentini & Son’s construction of the dry mining unit (DMU) is underway with mobilisation and site assembly expected to take place late this quarter.

The commencement of ore mining and sequential commissioning of the DMU and process plant is scheduled to take place during the December quarter.

The first customer shipment at the Thunderbird project remains on track for Q1 2024.

Waste mining activities are advancing well before the planned mobilisation of Piacentini & Son during this quarter, said the mining company.

Sheffield Resources executive chair Bruce Griffin said: ”The Kimberley Mineral Sands team and their contractors have done an excellent job with construction, maintaining expenditures within the planned funding envelope of $484m, which is a superb achievement.

”With commissioning now underway, we look forward to the forecast first shipment of the product in Q1 2024.”