Mineral Deposits Limited (ASX: MDL) is an Australian based mining company in the business of mining, integrating and transforming mineral sands resources.
MDL has been in the mineral sands industry since the mid-1990s, following its acquisition of the Hawks Nest mineral sands operation. In September 2004, MDL was selected by the Government of the Republic of Senegal to develop the Grande Côte Mineral Sands Project (GCO). Following the creation of the TiZir Joint Venture in 2011 – which combined GCO with the TiZir Titanium & Iron ilmenite upgrading facility (TTI) in Norway – and the 2016 sale of chloride titanium slag using GCO ilmenite upgraded at TTI, MDL has realised its strategy of becoming an integrated mineral sands producer. As a result, MDL is strongly positioned to grow shareholder value.
MDL owns 50% of the TiZir joint venture in partnership with ERAMET of France.
The TiZir joint venture comprises two integrated, producing assets – the Grande Côte mineral sands operation (GCO) in Senegal, West Africa and the TiZir Titanium & Iron ilmenite upgrading facility (TTI) in Tyssedal, Norway. The joint venture benefits from MDL’s development expertise and mineral sands mining experience as well as ERAMET’s broad expertise in mining, metallurgy, logistics, R&D and marketing. The joint venture produces zircon, titanium minerals – such as ilmenite, rutile and leucoxene – and titanium slag (collectively referred to as titanium feedstocks), as well as a high purity pig iron which is a valuable co-product of the ilmenite upgrading process.
Strategic benefits of the TiZir Joint Venture:
Risk mitigation: Integration of GCO and TTI limits MDL’s exposure to the lower value, volatile ilmenite market
Securing offtake: With GCO regularly shipping its ilmenite to TTI, offtake of a majority of GCO’s production is secure
Ensuring supply: On-stream production at GCO now provides greater long-term security of ilmenite supply for TTI
Operational flexibility: The combination of GCO’s ilmenite and TTI’s operational capacity enables the joint venture to produce both sulphate and chloride process feedstock for pigment producers, best positioning the JV to take advantage of prevailing and future market dynamics
Vertical integration: Driving cost efficiencies and enhanced revenue generation to maximise returns for shareholders
Advantageous logistics: GCO’s integrated logistics from mine-to-ship and the proximity of Senegal and Norway to customers in Europe as well as the eastern seaboard of the USA provide considerable logistical advantages
Competitive, high quality producer: Short-term focus on TTI ramp up and optimisation of operations to deliver free cash flow even at the bottom of the cycle