The raw materials for Tronox’s titanium minerals business come from ancient shoreline deposits in the Lancelin to Gingin area, approximately 170 kilometers north of Perth. Tronox’s mine in this area has the local indigenous name Cooljarloo.
Grains of valuable heavy minerals were deposited on ancient shorelines thousands of years ago, where the action of waves and wind formed ‘belts’ of minerals called strand lines.
Today, Tronox produces more than 770,000 metric tons of heavy mineral concentrate a year from strand lines using a dredging operation and dry mining techniques.
The dredging operation uses two large floating dredges in a purpose-built pond to pump slurried ore to a floating concentrator which recovers heavy minerals from the sand and clay using a series of gravity spirals.
The dry mine uses earth-moving equipment to extract ore located above the water table, feeding it to a land-based concentrator for separation using a hopper and conveyor system.
As the ore body is mined, overburden and sands with little mineral content are returned to fill the void, clay residue is pumped to solar drying cells, and the surface is contoured to resemble the original landscape. Then, topsoil is spread and seeds are sown to promote rehabilitation.
The heavy mineral concentrate produced at Cooljarloo is transported south in side tipping triple trailer road trains to Tronox’s Chandala Processing Plant for separation and processing.