Skip to main content Skip to footer

Overview

The Wimmera project's primary focus is the WIM100 deposit, one of a number of similar style, fine grained deposits located in the Wimmera and Mallee regions of Western Victoria. The deposit is distinguished by the fineness of its mineral content, which is unsuitable for processing at Iluka’s Hamilton mineral separation plant. As such, the project encompasses the development of both mining activities and new processing facilities. The project is currently in definitive feasibility study phase (DFS).

Under the Environment Effects Act 1978 Iluka is required to prepare an Environment Effects Statement (EES) to assess the potential environmental impacts of the project. The EES will require Iluka to conduct a number of studies including, but not limited to, biodiversity and habitat, water catchment and hydrology, visual and environmental amenity, social impact and cultural heritage.

More information on the EES for Wimmera can be found on the Victorian Government's Department of Transport and Planning website.

Stakeholder Engagement

DOCUMENTS

For further information please visit:
 

FAQs

Iluka Resources (Iluka) is a global critical minerals company with expertise in exploration, development, mining, processing, marketing and rehabilitation.
With over 70 years’ of industry experience, Iluka is a leading global producer of zircon and the high grade titanium dioxide feedstocks rutile and synthetic rutile. Additionally, Iluka has an emerging portfolio in rare earth elements (rare earths).

Iluka’s portfolio includes active mine sites and processing facilities in Australia.

WIM100 is the name of the deposit Iluka proposes to mine as part of the Wimmera project; and refers to the geological type of the deposit. There are other WIM-style deposits in the Wimmera region including WIM50, WIM150, WIM200, WIM250 and Goschen South. WIM style deposits are fine grained sands characterised by sheet-like geometry. They are a lower grade but yield higher tonnages relative to other mineral sands deposits. Because of the fine nature of their mineral sands, mining and processing ore from WIM style deposits is technically challenging.

The project will produce zircon, titanium dioxide and rare earth mineral products.

Zircon is an opaque, hard wearing mineral with unique chemical resistance and thermal stability properties. Over half of all zircon is used in the production of ceramics where it provides whiteness, strength and corrosion resistance. The most common use is in ceramic floor and wall tiles with others including sinks, sanitary ware and tableware.  Emerging and specialty applications of zircon, based on its derivatives zirconia and zirconium chemicals, are key growth markets for the mineral. There is a wide array of end uses in the industrial and electronics industries, including nuclear fuel rods, catalytic fuel converters, water and air purification systems, electronics componentry and fibre optics.

Titanium dioxide is a dark coloured mineral which, with further processing, becomes a white opaque powder. Around 90% of titanium dioxide globally is used as a pigment in the manufacture of paint, plastic, paper and fibre where, in addition to being a non-toxic whitener, it also provides UV and chemical resistance.

Titanium minerals are also used to produce titanium metal, which is used across a diverse range of applications including aeronautics, medical implants, defence and sporting goods.

Rare earths are a group of 17 chemical elements. Due to their unique chemical and physical properties, certain rare earth elements are considered critical to a number of rapidly evolving markets, including industrial and military applications. Iluka’s focus is on high value elements commonly used in permanent magnets, such as in electric cars, wind turbines and electronics.

In 2018 Iluka developed a test pit in the central part of the WIM100 site. The purpose of the test pit was to gather information to further develop the mining, processing and rehabilitation methods.

Backfilling of the pit commenced in January 2020. Once the overburden has been placed, Iluka will wait 12 months before replacing the subsoil and topsoil. Waiting a year before replacing the subsoil and topsoil allows for settlement and compaction. Lessons learned will be applied to future rehabilitation at Wimmera if the mine goes ahead.

The mining method has not been finalised, however it is likely that the deposit will be progressively mined via open pit using mobile earthmoving equipment.

It is likely that scrapers will be used for the removal and replacement of topsoil, subsoil, and that bulldozers will be used for overburden removal and replacement, and for the extraction of ore.

The site will be approximately 3,400 hectares comprised of:

  • a conventional open pit mine and ore handling system; - processing plant comprised of a mineral separation plant, zircon refinery and rare earth refinery;
  • water pipelines and electricity supply infrastructure;
  •  ore and overburden stockpiles;
  • product storage and loading facility;- water storage dams;
  • administration buildings, workshop and maintenance buildings;
  • internal access and haul roads; and
  • lay down areas and carparks

The Wimmera project centres on the development of the WIM100 deposit which is finer and has different characteristics than those mined as part of Iluka’s previous operations in Victoria. The Hamilton plant is designed to process coarser style of deposits. These are fundamentally different separation and refining techniques; and a new processing facility is required.

Equally, Iluka is eager to maintain the Hamilton plant’s capability, as it remains suitable to potentially process ore sourced from coarser style mineral sands deposits in the future.

The company retains a number of these types of deposits within its portfolio.

The expected duration of mining activities is 20-25 years. Site rehabilitation and monitoring activities will occur progressively during operation and will continue for approximately 15 years following the completion of mining.

The project is currently in definitive feasibility study (DFS) phase. During DFS the option that was recommended to the Iluka Board of Directors in the pre-feasibility study (PFS) phase is assessed in detail to further define risks and refine cost. At the conclusion of the DFS phase a recommendation is made to the Board on whether to progress the project to the construction and execute phases. The company expects the DFS stage to continue until mid-2026.

During this process Iluka will be applying for the necessary State and Commonwealth government approvals. The company is currently preparing an Environmental Effects Statement, which facilitates this process. 

Iluka is preparing an Environment Effects Statement (EES), which will be assessed by the Department of Environment, Land Water and Planning (DELWP) in Victoria. The EES is not an approval document. Rather, the EES will enable the State Minister for Planning to determine whether the impacts of proposed works will be acceptable and do not outweigh the wider benefits of the project. Secondary permits including the mining lease cannot be assessed without first having regard for the Minister’s decision. Further information about the EES process can be found on the Department of Transport and Planning website.

The Wimmera project will also be assessed under the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) (EPBC Act), due to potential impacts on ‘listed threatened species and communities’, ‘listed migratory species’, and ‘nuclear actions’ (relating to mine waste disposal).

The EPBC Act assessment is integrated into the Victorian EES process under an agreement between the State and Commonwealth governments. Following completion of the EES process, the Minister for Planning’s assessment of the project is forwarded to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment for a decision on whether to approve the project under the EPBC Act and, if so, under what conditions.

Further details on the EPBC Act process can be found on the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water website.

Iluka has engaged EMM Consulting Limited to prepare the EES.

A preliminary risk assessment has been undertaken to identify key environmental, social, health and safety risks. Each risk was assessed as being either critical, high, moderate or low based on the assumption that only basic control measures would be in place.

Current risks identified include ecology, socio-economic, traffic safety, groundwater extraction/contamination, soil contamination, radiation exposure, visual amenity and geotechnical instability.

Detailed impact studies will be completed which will identify management and mitigation methods after which the risks will be re-assessed.

Yes, in addition to the ongoing opportunity to provide feedback to Iluka via our engagement channels and public information sessions, the EES process also provides formal opportunities for stakeholders to comment on the project to the Victorian and Commonwealth governments. Comments can be provided during the public notice period of the draft scoping requirements for the EES and during the public exhibition of the EES.

Further information about the EES process can be found on the Department of Transport and Planning website.

Iluka has also engaged EMM Consulting to undertake a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) for the project, and stakeholders are invited to complete a short anonymous survey as part of this which will help Iluka to better understand key social impacts and opportunities in the region. You can complete the survey here.

We have been in ongoing discussions with landowners regarding the project and access to undertake environmental monitoring, investigations and assessments.

Discussions with landowners to secure access for construction and mining has commenced.

If the project proceeds, a workforce of approximately 300-350 people will be required for the two-year construction period. Approximately 280-350 people will be required during the 25-year operations phase.

Iluka will work collaboratively with local contracting organisations to ensure development occurs to support a significant amount of local community engagement opportunities during study, construction and operation phases of the project.

Timeline

Preliminary Feasibility Study
Environmental assessment
Ongoing
Approval by Iluka board
Approval to progress to DFS and government approvals
Definitive Feasibility Study
Final Investment Decision by Iluka board
Approval to execute
Construction
2 years
Operation
25 years
Closure
1 year
Post closure and rehabilitation
14 years

Drop a pin on the map to leave a location specific comment or question. If you have general feedback, comments or questions please scroll down to the feedback section of the page.

Click to place comment
Layers