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Located in the South West of Western Australia on the lands of the Wadandi Noongar people, the Tutunup Mineral Sands Project involves the development of a mining operation and associated infrastructure.

The project is targeting a chloride ilmenite deposit that contains titanium dioxide and zircon. These minerals are used in a wide variety of applications, including the production of ceramic tiles and pigments.

Alongside the existing processing facility at North Capel and rehabilitation at various locations including Capel, Tutunup South, and Yoganup, the Tutunup Mineral Sands Project will form a part of Iluka’s ongoing South West Operations.

Iluka submitted the Tutunup Mineral Sands Project Referral to the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in December 2021 for assessment under the Environment Protection Act 1986, with an Environment Review Document (ERD) level of assessment being assigned. The project was also referred to the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) in April 2022, with the proposal determined to be a Controlled Action, requiring assessment.

The project is currently in Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) phase. Following approval by the Iluka Board, an ERD is anticipated to be submitted to the EPA upon the finalisation of the Environmental Impact Assessment process.

If you have any questions about the Tutunup Mineral Sands Project, including the EPA submission, please contact the Tutunup Project Team on 1800 305 993 or by emailing


Tutunup Project Team
1800 305 993


Iluka Resources (Iluka) proposes to establish a mineral sands mine targeting the Tutunup deposit, located approximately 195km south of Perth and 17km east of Busselton, in the southwest of Western Australia. The Tutunup Mineral Sands Project (the Proposal) is part of Iluka’s ongoing South West Operations, being a continuation of mining and production of heavy mineral concentrate (HMC) in the region.
The Proposal involves the development of mine pit(s), processing plant, dams for water and clay fines management, material stockpiles and associated supporting infrastructure such as power, drainage, haul roads, offices and workshops. 

Iluka is targeting a sand deposit that contains heavy mineral concentrate (HMC), the majority of which is naturally occurring ilmenite, which is a titanium dioxide mineral. This ilmenite will be processed at Iluka’s nearby synthetic rutile kilns in North Capel to produce a valuable titanium feedstock which is used for pigment production.

The Proposal is currently at an early planning phase, which involves considering and assessing various options, including mining method and deposit viability before making a recommendation for approval by the Iluka Board of Directors.

If approved, the Proposal will progress to the construction, or execute, phase.

The Proposal is subject to approvals and ongoing regulation under a number of different laws and regulations, these include but are not limited to:

  • Mining Act 1978;
  • Part V of the Environmental Protection Act;
  • Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914;
  • Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972;
  • Radiation Safety Act 1975;
  • Mines Safety and Inspection Act 1994; and
  • Dangerous Goods Safety Act 2004.

The first step in the government approvals process has commenced.  On 3 December 2021 Iluka submitted a referral to the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for consideration.  The EPA will determine the levels of assessment proportionate to the project’s potential impacts.  The next referral is to the Commonwealth Department of Agricultural, Water and Environment (DAWE). DAWE will determine whether assessment of potential impact on Matters of National Environmental Significance (MNE) is required.

At this stage of the Proposal the development envelope is 653ha as shown below.  The final size of the Proposal development envelope will be known once the various environmental and other technical studies to determine viability are completed. 

The duration of mining will be dependent on a number of factors including the rate of mining.  It is currently anticipated the mine life would be approximately 5 ½ to 8 years for construction and operations, followed by 5 to 7 years to complete rehabilitation works with monitoring and maintenance activities continuing thereafter. 

It is anticipated that the site will operate on a continuous 24 hour per day, seven days a week basis.  However, some activities, such as construction and overburden stripping, may operate on restricted timeframes for the purpose of managing noise and dust at local residences. As planning progresses operations hours and impacts will be determined.

Material concentrated (known as heavy mineral concentrate or HMC) will be produced on site at Tutunup and then transported by road trucks to Iluka’s existing facility in North Capel for further processing. The type and number of trucks used to transport HMC off-site is yet to be confirmed. 

Access to the site will be via Tompsett Road.  A preliminary transport route from Tutunup to the secondary processing facility at North Capel has been identified and is being assessed for conformance to Main Roads Western Australia (MRWA) standards and Austroads guidelines.

The proposal transport route is subject to refinement as additional studies are completed. It utilises a combination of Main Roads WA, City of Busselton and Shire of Capel controlled roads.

The type and number of road trucks used to transport HMC off-site is yet to be confirmed, however up to 19 truck movements per day are anticipated during normal operation.

As part of the government approvals process, Iluka is required to conduct a range of studies addressing potential impacts. Studies must show a detailed understanding of baseline, or pre-mining conditions and explain how potential impacts will be avoided, remedied or managed. The range of studies include:

  • detailed flora and vegetation assessment;
  • fauna and habitat assessment, targeted threatened species assessment and short-range endemic fauna assessment, (this includes addressing impacts to any nearby fauna and flora communities);
  • aquatic biology assessment;
  • phytophthora dieback survey;
  • groundwater and surface water modelling;
  • noise assessment;
  • heritage assessment;
  • air and dust assessment;
  • transport assessment;
  • human health assessment;
  • acid sulfate soils assessment;
  • soil and landform assessment; and
  • pasture productivity assessment.

The Proposal represents a temporary change in the landscape and as required a Mine Closure Plan (MCP), in consultation with stakeholders and in accordance with the Mining Act 1978, will be developed and implemented.  The MCP will be informed by Iluka’s extensive experience mining and rehabilitating sites in the south west.  The MCP will include requirements for final landform restoration, surface drainage and land use, ensuring that the final rehabilitated site is visually compatible with the surroundings. 

If you would like to know more about Iluka’s biodiversity and rehabilitation projects please visit -  Iluka Website - Biodiversity & Rehabilitation and Microsoft Word - 6. Tutunup Sth wetlands - Final - 16122015.docx ( which provides a summary of Iluka’s innovative approach to native vegetation rehabilitation at Tutunup South.  Iluka’s recently completed Tutunup South mining operations are very similar to the potential activities and impacts proposed as part of this Proposal. 

Iluka is engaging with Traditional Owners, the Wadandi People who are part of the South West Boojarah Noongar People to collaboratively develop a process that appropriately manages heritage and cultural values. 

In 2009 a heritage survey was conducted by the South West Boojarah Native Title Claimant Group, the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council and Iluka.  However, given the length of time that has passed, conclusion of the South West Native Title Settlement, changes to the Proposal and the introduction of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2021 a revised approach to managing Aboriginal culture and heritage is being discussed with the Wadandi People.

The proposed timing for implementation of the Proposal is subject to review based on commercial requirements.  HMC from Tutunup is currently anticipated to be required from 2026.

The Proposal is part of a greater program of studies in the South West that is focussed on identifying ongoing feed sources for Iluka’s North Capel operations.  In addition to supporting ongoing operations at North Capel, the Proposal, if it goes ahead, will create extra jobs for the life of the mine.

Precise numbers are not available yet however it is expected that operation of the Tutunup deposit will require a similar number of personnel as Iluka’s recently completed Tutunup South mining operations. 

Iluka’s Tutunup South mine employed 26 Iluka employees and 25 specialist contractor roles while operating, up to 100 during construction and 30 during the rehabilitation phase, as well as corporate roles based out of Capel which support the operation.

Where possible, Iluka aims to employ qualified local people from the region and is developing a training programme to grow local people into positions. 

Yes. Iluka has been part of the community in the South West for more than 60 years and we value the views of all our stakeholders.  We will continue to provide a range of opportunities to engage with stakeholders and community members as the Proposal progresses.  As noted above stakeholders are also able to participate in the state EPA and commonwealth DAWE government approvals public comments processes. 

For more information about the proposal, or to engage with Iluka, please visit the project webpage at tutunup and subscribe to project updates.

Alternatively, you can contact Iluka on our 24-hour community line 1800 305 993 or by email at