Mount Mulgine tungsten project is a large-scale tungsten and molybdenum open-pit mine being developed by Tungsten Mining. The project is located approximately 15km north-east of Rothsay in the Murchison region of Western Australia.

Tungsten Mining received environmental approval for the project in August 2017 and expects to start construction by the end of 2018.

Expected to commence operation in 2019, the Mount Mulgine is forecasted to produce 255,000t of tungsten trioxide (WO3) and 19,100t of molybdenum in concentrates, over 15 years of estimated mine life.

Mount Mulgine tungsten project geology and mineralisation

The Mount Mulgine deposit forms part of the Archaean greenstone-granitoid terrain in the Yilgarn Block of Western Australia.

The tungsten-molybdenum mineralisation at Mount Mulgine is hosted in micaceous schists, amphibolite and talc-chlorite schist within the 2km-long Mulgine Granite formation.

The project comprises two mineralisation zones, namely the Mulgine Hill deposit, which is a high-grade tungsten deposit, and the Mulgine Trench deposit, which is a large low-grade tungsten-molybdenum deposit.

The current mining plan is focused on the Mulgine Hill deposit.

Tungsten and molybdenum reserves at Mount Mulgine

The Mount Mulgine project was estimated to hold 81.9Mt of 0.05% WO3 cut-off grade ore resources containing 0.16% WO3 and 230 parts per million (ppm) molybdenum, as of July 2017.

It includes the 10.2Mt resource estimate for the Mulgine Hill deposit and 71.7Mt of estimated ore resources for the Mulgine Trench deposit.

Mount Mulgine mine development history

Tungsten Mining acquired the Mt Mulgine tungsten and molybdenum rights from Hazelwood Resources in December 2015 and started drilling at the Mulgine Hill deposit in August 2016.

The company expanded the resource estimate for the Mulgine Hill deposit in June 2017 and obtained environmental permits for the project two months later.

Tungsten Mining acquired a modular gravity processing plant for the project from Pilbara Minerals, in November 2017.

Mining and processing at the Mount Mulgine tungsten project

Conventional open-pit mining involving drill, blast and haul operations will be carried out from three pits.

The run-of-mine (ROM) ore will be trucked to the nearby processing facility, where it will pass through two-stage crushing, X-ray ore sorting, grinding, gravity concentration and froth flotation for the production of tungsten and molybdenum concentrates.

Flocculant, oleic acid, sodium ethyl xanthate, and methyl isobutyl carbinol (MIBC) frother will be used as reagents for ore processing.

The nominal throughput of the processing facility will be 375,000tpa, while the average dry concentrate production is estimated to be 2,250tpa.

The produced concentrates will be trucked in containers to the Fremantle Port via the Great Northern Highway for shipping.

The wet tailings will be thickened and pumped into the tailings storage facility.

Off-take agreement for Mount Mulgine tungsten project

Xiamen Tungsten (XTC), a company based in China, entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Tungsten Mining in November 2017 to off-take tungsten and molybdenum concentrates from the Mount Mulgine project.

Infrastructure facilities for the Mount Mulgine tungsten project

The Mount Mulgine mine site will be accessed via the existing Minjar access roads and the Warriedar Copper Mine Road.

A 2MW diesel power generation facility will be built to meet the electricity needs, while a solar power plant is being considered as an alternative power source.

Other infrastructure facilities will include two waste rock storage facilities, a water storage facility, administrative building and workshop buildings.

Contractors involved

Optiro was engaged to prepare the resource estimates for the project in 2016 and 2017.