Perth, Australia-based mining company Iluka Resources (ASX: ILU) announced a proposed mineral sands mining development in Dinwiddie County, Virginia.
The company will initially be investing $67 million on machinery and equipment for the mining and concentration facilities.
To-date, the company has already invested $20 million on the project, and subsequent development costs are likely to push the total project cost up to $120 million.
Iluka’s project will create 86 new jobs with a total payroll impact of $34 million over the next 11 years. It will also create 490 construction jobs.
Iluka already has two mining operations in Virginia, located in Brink and Concord. The mined material is currently moved to a separation plant in Stony Creek which produces minerals such as zircon.
The proposed plant in Dinwiddie County includes mining and concentration facilities to produce zircon and titanium. Virginia zircon is apparently highly sought by high-end sanitary-ware and ceramic tile manufacturers.
Governor McDonnell said that Iluka had been a valuable employer for the last 16 years, and their new decision to add a new sands mine and invest in new equipment was a testament to the abundance of natural resources and infrastructure available.
Iluka also had mines in Florida and Georgia, but ceased those operations in 2005 and 2006 respectively. The company has since been evaluating new mineral sands deposits in Aurelian Springs, North Carolina and Dinwiddie County, Virginia for development.
Company officials indicated they were able to move ahead with the Dinwiddie County site first because of Virginia’s business-friendly environment.Matthew Blackwell, president and general manager, U.S. Operations, Iluka Resources, said that they appreciated the fast and thorough responses provided by officials and regulatory agencies while the company was considering the project.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with local officials in Dinwiddie County to secure the project. The company has been offered a $300,000 grant under the Virginia Investment Partnership program, along with another $525,000 from the Virginia Tobacco Commission.
The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will additionally provide Iluka with funding and support for recruitment and workforce training.