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Cape Bedford

Overview

The Cape Bedford EPM application is located approximately 200km north of Cairns in North Queensland, and covers the extent of a large Quaternary sand dune field, part of which is currently being mined by Cape Flattery Silica Mines Pty Ltd (CFSM), a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation. Cape Flattery has operated since 1967 and is the world's largest silica sand mining operation. 

Negotiations have commenced with the traditional landowners to facilitate the grant of the EPM and develop an appropriate exploration program.

Geology

The Cape Flattery Cape Bedford dune field is approximately 55km long and 22km wide at its widest point, covering around 580km2. The Quaternary dunefield occupies a low coastal plain, with older sandstones of the Laura Basin and Hodgkinson Basin bounding its western edge and forming prominent outliers and headlands. The dune field consists predominantly of white, active, transgressive parabolic and elongate parabolic dunes, and rounded degraded dunes stabilised by vegetation, within a low lying (5 - 10m RL) interdune sandplain interspersed with dune lakes and swamps. The elongate parabolic dunes have a nose that may reach 90m high, with trailing arms / ridges parallel to the prevailing southeasterly winds.

The dunes represent a source of high quality silica sand, as deep leaching of the sand masses has formed a podzolic soil profile with a thick A2 horizon of white silica sand up to 40m thick. The sand has been well sorted by aeolian processes and the grain size distribution is well suited to glass manufacture and foundry castings.

The dunefield also represents a potential source of heavy mineral sands (zircon, rutile and ilmenite), as HM is both present within the parabolic dune sand mass in low concentrations, and has been concentrated on deflation / lag surfaces within the dune complex and by wave / water action on the current coastline (see photo below).

Exploration

Most exploration has centred on the Cape Flattery area, within the Mining Leases of CFSM, but reconnaissance exploration has been carried out over the entire dunefield in the late 1960's and agin in the early 1980's. This exploration confirmed the presence of both silica sand and heavy mineral sands, and Diatreme intends to build on the existing data and initially target those areas (e.g. Nob Point) where prospective silica sand dunes have been identified and access is readily available.

A program of geological / geomorphological mapping, drilling and sample assaying is anticipated to quickly generate silica sand resources. Bulk sample collection will allow process flowsheet development and product quality analysis, with scoping studies then undertaken.

Cape Bedford has the potential to be a high value project with a readily defined path to development.

Photos


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