A scoping study by junior Equatorial Resources has indicated that an initial capital investment of $114-million would be required to develop the Mayoko-Moussondji iron project, in the Republic of Congo. The study evaluated the three-staged development of the project, incorporating both a hematite and magnetite resource. Stage 1 of the project would see the development of a 500 000 t/y operation, based on the maiden hematite resource of 102-million tonnes, at 40.6% iron, while Stage 2 would see the project ramping up to two-million tonnes a year, within 18 months. “The scoping study has identified an immediate pathway to a two-million-tonne-a year hematite mining operation producing a premium product transported by the existing railway and port facilities,” said Equatorial MD and CEO John Welborn. “The study demonstrated that our project has a number of advantages; the potential for a high-quality product, low capital requirements, competitive operational costs, and a short timeframe to production based on access to existing rail and port infrastructure.” Based on the initial hematite resource, the project would have an estimated mine life of some 23 years. The first six years of mining was based on the indicated mineral resource, with the remaining years based on inferred material. Equatorial said it had enlisted WorleyParsons to look at ways of optimising transport solutions for its project, including integrating Exxaro’s systems so that both companies could benefit from future operating synergies.