Lodestone has a development philosophy that is encapsulated in our statement:
“Start Small - Expand Rapidly”
Maximum use of existing physical and social infrastructure will contribute greatly to the practical realisation of this philosophy.
In this way we can limit our initial capital needs and set up the structures for continuing, responsible development of the Braemar Iron Formation.
The company has over 1 billion tonnes confirmed JORC resources. The Olary Flats project is in South Australia and carries Government support for development. Our project is very attractive as the Iron ore concentrate product will be amongst the highest available in Australia at 70% Fe. The standard Pilbara region offer is 58 to 62% Fe. Lodestone concentrate will attract a premium price and higher than 62%Fe sinter fines. The quality of our iron concentrate product makes it attractive to all global steel makers.
The ore body outcrops at the surface and is hosted within soft rock with an average magnetite content of 25%; this together with the introduction of “dry grinding technology” from Germany, will result in significantly reduced capital and operating costs, with reduced reliance upon water for processing, unlike all other market competitors.
The mine site is well situated with access to abundant transport infrastructure connecting to South Australian port facilities and with an available experienced local workforce nearby.
Starting small at 1.5 million tonnes per annum, our project will be ramped up to approximately 25 million tonnes per annum over the initial years of the mine’s operation. As an indication of the demand for the high quality of the concentrate, the company holds Letters of Intent covering over 20 million tonnes per annum from customers.
The process flow sheet and other innovations will ensure a lower total capital cost for the overall project, the majority of this is for processing plant and equipment costs. These items attract Foreign Export Finance from the offshore equipment manufacturers. As a result, the finance risk is greatly reduced. To date we have expended over AUD$35 million on exploring and investigating iron ore projects in South Australia.
The management team is highly experienced with multiple years in mining and iron ore processing operations. The team members have a track record of establishing many large scale ore mining operations.
The company is seeking investment in tranches to complete Feasibility Studies and to commence to establish the mine and production by mid 2022.
Rewards Strategy - The primary aim of the enterprise is to generate strong positive cash flow to support the region and the enterprise and strong dividends that repay the initial investment many times over. Of course, private share sales are always possible too. Rewards via a trade sale pursuant to attractive offers, will always be evaluated by the Board but is not the primary aim of the Board.
Supporting the Pastoral Industry and Rural Communities
The Lodestone Director's lifelong experience in developing projects in harmony with all stakeholders, understand the importance of caring for the community and industries in our sphere of operations. Lodestone will always support the local community and industries and has already initiated several activities toward this end. These include:
Engaging local pastoralists to assist in roadworks, drilling support and rehabilitation works.
Undertaking charity events, an example being one that recently raising nearly $30,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor through benefit dinners, with funds to go to the local area including the RFDS clinic on the pastoral station close to our Olary Creek operations.
Buying locally to support the businesses of the area, this includes drill consumables, food and supplies from Broken Hill and fuel supplies for drilling operations coming from Jamestown.
Initial planning is also underway in Broken Hill and Port Pirie and surrounding areas to link disability support services with proven programs at city universities.
We are excited by the opportunities our project brings to the local communities and regions.
Protecting Aboriginal Heritage
Consultation with traditional owners and land councils is an integral part of the process of positively protecting their values and addressing Aboriginal heritage issues and concerns.
We are committed to protecting Aboriginal heritage. The Project team will work with the local Aboriginal community, research known databases to identify sites of interest and take necessary steps to protect cultural heritage. Lodestone also at all times seeks to maximise employment and other opportunities for people’s with an aboriginal heritage connection.
The Olary Flats Project will use the best available methods and technologies to minimise air emissions during construction and when operational.
A key contributor to air quality impact is dust produced from earth-moving activities during construction, and the movement of vehicles along unsealed roads and tracks during dry conditions. The extent of the dust will vary, depending upon moisture content, soil type and the current wind conditions.
To a lesser degree magnetite concentrates may also contribute to dust and will always be stored in covered storage to obviate any fugitive dust generated from operations. As the concentrates will contain a minimum of 10.0% water, little or no fugitive dust is anticipated during product transfer or ship loading.
In addition to dust, it is anticipated that there will be some exhaust emission from machinery used in construction and operations. The Port may also generate small exhaust emissions from motors on the facility.
Emissions from vehicles and machinery (diesel or LPG) will be emitted during operations. These emissions are expected to be limited as only machinery for use at the maintenance and operations base and small service vehicles are expected to be needed during the operational phase of the project. These will be minimised where possible.
Mining and processing will use renewable energy sources for electricity.
The port may generate small exhaust emissions from motors at their facility and the port's backup power using diesel or LPG powered generators may produce small amounts of exhaust emissions.
Environment and Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the variety of all living things; the different plants, animals and microorganisms, the genetic information they contain and the ecosystems they form. Maintaining ecological biodiversity will be a key consideration for Lodestone. The environmental assessment will outline how we propose to minimise and manage potential impacts on plants and animals. The project area has avoided areas of known conservation significance, endangered ecological communities and areas known to be home to threatened species thereby minimising the impacts on plants and animals’ diversity.
Communication with government, regulatory agencies and community stakeholders will be an important part of the process of addressing biodiversity issues in the environmental assessment.
In areas where the project's footprint is within disturbed natural landscapes where there is little remnant native vegetation to be found the project is expected to have a minimal impact on ecological biodiversity.
Extensive vegetation cover exists in some areas. Other areas have been heavily grazed by sheep and goats. Detailed field studies will be required to both confirm the existing vegetation mapping and investigate areas where detailed ecosystem information is not available.
The Project Team will aim to avoid as far as possible all known ecologically sensitive areas, endangered ecological communities and traveling stock routes containing remnant vegetation. In situations where avoiding these areas is not possible, a range of measures to reduce impacts will be put into practice.
During construction, plant matter will be kept in the construction area, unless contaminated with noxious weeds. Wherever possible this material will be spread back over the area after construction to stabilise the ground and support the re-establishment of local vegetation.
After construction has finished, corridors and any easements will be reinstated. Key landscape features and natural drainage lines will be maintained and restored if temporarily impacted, as close to original forms as possible and any measures put in place to reduce erosion would remain until enough vegetation has grown to keep the soil stable.
Such measures may include:
minimise clearing of native vegetation as much as possible by effective design, planning of construction activities and location of construction access tracks
introduce soil, weed and water management practices
introduce procedures to protect native animals
The Lodestone Project Team is investigating ways to maximise employment opportunities for the local community. Our project is moving from a concept stage to the Definitive Feasibility Study stage. Hence a greater understanding of the project's needs is being developed. All positions will be advertised within the community.
Safety is a critical component of the construction and operation of any project. The Lodestone Project Team will consider the risks and hazards that could potentially affect the community and workforce during construction and operations.
Each project component will be designed and constructed according to the relevant guidelines and standards. Potential risks and hazards that could affect the project and human safety will be considered and identified through a comprehensive risk assessment.
Nurturing the Earth
Lodestone embraces its environmental and social responsibilities as an essential part of its business and interactions with all stakeholders. Lodestone is committed to the implementation of innovative practices throughout all facets of our organisation, taking genuine care for the environment, and the community and responsibly conserving the earth’s resources.
Workshops undertaken by highly experienced and qualified people during the concept phase identified ideas for further investigation that could be brought into the project to enhance its overall success. Further ideas will be sought and determined from engaging with the local community and stakeholders as the project is progressed.
Some examples of these ideas included:
re-establishing native vegetation along linear infrastructure corridors, where possible
sourcing power from the local renewable sources as appropriate to the project’s needs
installation of solar farm as appropriate to the project’s needs
rain harvesting where feasible
water minimisation strategies such as dry processing, tailings paste thickening, filtering and dry stack co-disposal
continual community engagement.
These initiatives will be integrated into the project's development plans as the project advances.
Surface and underground water are vital resources to South Australia and the region in which Lodestone operates.
Potable water will not be used for industrial purposes. All water requirements for processing minerals will be met by pumping saline groundwater (or sea water as the project expands) to the operational centres, using raw and/or treated water, as required. Any wastewater discharges from any desalination process will be retained within managed residue storage facilities and evaporated. Waste salt will be retained in the residue storage facilities. Strict controls will be implemented to ensure that groundwater and surface water resources are not impacted by saline water or salt residues.
The project construction and operations phases will be subject to strict controls to ensure that no unintentional releases impact groundwater or surface water. The project will also be the subject of regulatory oversight to ensure requirements are met.
Land Access and Easements
The Lodestone Project Team will be contacting each landholder along the proposed route of any linear infrastructure (roads, pipelines for mine supply water, slurry and gas, power lines, rail) to communicate and discuss aspects of the project and as required, to seek access to their land for surveys and studies which are required to help determine an optimal route. Braemar Infrastructure, a subsidiary of Lodestone, will discuss any detail on the preferred optimal route option/s and any associated easement/s with the landholder, where it is proposed that the linear infrastructure crosses their property/ies. Preferred routes will be further refined as the project moves forward in liaison with the landholder.
A precautionary approach will be taken to define route study areas. This means that the routes will be designed to avoid safety hazards and risks of serious or irreversible environmental damage, with a preference to run through already disturbed areas and use existing rights of way.