Donald Mineral Sands (DMS)

Project and Mineral Separation Plant, Murray Basin

The Donald Mineral Sands (DMS) adjacent Donald and Jackson deposits are among the largest mineral sands deposits in the world and contain  a high proportion of the most valuable  zircon in their heavy mineral assemblage, which is the largest zircon deposit  in the world.

The current Mineral Resource estimate totals 4.78 billion tonnes of sand at an average grade of 3.7% of total heavy minerals (HM) at 1% HM cut-off and the total heavy minerals on average include 19% Zircon, 9% Rutile + anatase, 33% ilmenite, 18% leucoxene and 2% monazite for the mineralogically assayed parts of the Donald and Jackson deposits. Most other mineral sands deposits in the world contain about 10% zircon.

DMS completed the basic design works for mining, metallurgy and tailings in January 2015, providing DMS with the information required to transition into the final stages of feasibility designs prior to detailed phases of execution.

In October 2015, entry into an EPC contract with CMEC will provide funding for the EPC of the first phase of the Donald Project, subject to satisfaction of a number of conditions.

In 2016 and 2017 focus shifted to increasing efficiency and effectiveness of processing methodologies, refining engineering design, mine planning and scheduling, defining infrastructure requirements, and native vegetation studies and assessments.

In March 2018 1,000t run of mine (RoM) material was excavated for the purpose of geotechnical and metallurgical testing to determine pit wall stability of material in dry and wet zones, overburden and ore.  In addition to this testwork, assessments of material placement, rehabilitation and the post backfill environment condition monitoring will all form an important step in progressing the DMS Project Work Plan.  The RoM material will be processed into final products for the development of marketing samples and long term global off take agreements.

The Donald project completed the Environmental Effect Statement (EES) process and was granted approval in November 2008.  The project subsequently went on to be granted a Mining Licence (ML5532) in 2012.  Other approvals obtained include the Cultural & Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) in 2014 and Export Licence in 2016.  A draft Work Plan has been submitted to the relevant Victorian Gevernment Department and a final draft will be submitted when all details of the final stages of the project development are completed.


Astron’s project definition statements are advancing with both the Senegal and Donald projects. Project and Engineering teams are currently advancing the Definitive Feasibility study for the Donald project in the Murray Basin Victoria.

Project milestones are continuing with Environmental, Engineering design, Infrastructure and operational preparedness activities.


Milestones achieved in the 3rd Quarter of 2016 continue to return cost effective outcomes for the business’s future. Achieved and planned milestones for 2016 include:

  • Submission of the Donald Site Work Plan Q4 2016
  • Donald Mineral Sands – Definitive Feasibility Study Q4 2016
  • Pre-Feasibility Engineering design of the Mineral Separation Plant commenced Q3 2016
  • Procurement and Engineering Technical reviews in both China and Australia commenced Q3 2016
  • Feasibility Design of the Donald Site Wet Concentrator Plant (WCP) completed Q3 2016
  • Logistics, Infrastructure and Civil designs completed Q3 2016
  • Project Execution and Packaging Plans completed Q3 2016


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