The Braemar Magnetite Advantage
The Razorback Iron Ore Project’s two key deposits, Razorback and Iron Peak, are part of the Braemar Iron Formation, a singular dipping tabular body with minimal faulting, folding and intrusives. The grades, thickness, dip and outcropping geometry of the Braemar Iron Formation are consistent over kilometres of strike. Research commissioned by the South Australian Government has estimated that the exploration potential of the Braemar region is over 50 billion tonnes based on existing mining tenements alone.
Braemar magnetite deposits, which consist primarily of siltstones, are notably softer than those in other iron ore producing regions in Australia and around the world, increasing grinding energy efficiency. In recent metallurgical test work, samples from the Razorback and Iron Peak deposits generated average bond ball work indices of 8.6kWh/t and 6.8kWh/t, respectively. Magnetite deposits hosted in banded iron formations, common to the Pilbara and Mid-West regions of Western Australia, have work indices in the order of 18-25kWh/t (i.e., 2 to 3 times higher).
The Razorback and Iron Peak deposits have negligible overburden (part of the resource outcrops) which is conducive to lower strip ratios and mining costs. In the interim economic update released to the ASX in June 2023, Magnetite Mines estimated a Life-Of-Mine strip ratio of 0.35 for a 91-year, 5Mtpa development at Razorback.
Existing Road, Rail and Port Infrastructure
The Razorback Iron Ore Project is located 240km from Adelaide close to the Barrier Highway (~40km), open-access rail (~40km) and existing iron ore ports on the Spencer Gulf coast (Whyalla 315km, Port Pirie 180km).
Roads in the area are a combination of national highways, state arterial roads and local roads. The Barrier Highway is part of the national freight network and is located just 40 kilometres from Razorback. It carries approximately 1,000 vehicles per day of which approximately 20 percent are road trains carrying freight.
The Crystal Brook-Broken Hill railway is also approximately 40km from the Razorback Project site. It is part of the Defined Interstate Rail Network (DIRN) and is owned and operated by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC). The rail line can carry 1,800 metre trains with 25 tonne axle loads and have an 80km/h speed limit. ARTC is currently undertaking a rail capacity modelling exercise to confirm its initial assessment that there is existing capacity to transport up to 10Mtpa of concentrate.
Magnetite Mines has signed separate Memoranda of Understanding with GFG Alliance and Flinders Ports to support the assessments of concentrate export from one of three viable port options: the Port of Whyalla (GFG Alliance), Port Pirie and Myponie Point (Flinders Ports).
Unique Access to Grid-Scale Renewables
During the 2022 DFS studies, GHD was engaged to design an electricity transmission line connecting the mine site to a substation at Bundey capable of accommodating the power requirement for a 2.5Mtpa operation. While several power supply options were explored during the Optimisation Studies, the 2022 design ultimately served as the blueprint for a revised power configuration consisting of a 275kV transmission line from Bundey and an 11kV substation at the mine site. The reconfigured transmission line can provide up to 400MVA of power, which provides ample expansion optionality over the initial targeted production rate of 5Mtpa and leaves open the possibility of electrifying materials handling activities at the mine site.
In May 2023, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) released details of a proposed high-voltage transmission link from Bundey to a mid-point in Yunta as part of the “Mid North Expansion (Northern) project”. Additional information was provided by South Australian network operator ElectraNet in its Transmission Annual Planning Update Report released in late May. The proposed line, intended to accommodate new renewable energy projects, has been indicatively designed to pass within 20km of the Razorback Project. While the development of the new line is uncertain, it represents a compelling opportunity for a near-site grid connection and substantial capital and operating cost savings. Magnetite Mines is actively engaging with ElectraNet to support their application for the Mid North Expansion (Northern) project and lobby for its approval by the AEMO.
Notwithstanding the final configuration, power for the Razorback Project will be sourced from the South Australian grid, which is forecast to be 100% renewables powered by 2030. The Company’s access to grid-scale renewables gives it a distinctive advantage in reducing, and possibly eliminating, the carbon footprint associated with its operations.
Green Iron Hub Potential
A notable recent development in the iron and steelmaking industry has been the emergence of the concept of a green steel or iron ‘hub’, in which steel or intermediate iron products are produced using low-cost renewable energy and green hydrogen. South Australia has been identified as an ideal location for such an initiative given its abundant land, solar and wind resources, existing mining and logistics infrastructure, stable regulatory frameworks, and vast reserves of magnetite deposits.