China's TMI restarts Woodie Woodie mine (II)

Published on 2017-08-28

Mr Jia said TMI was interested in expanding its footprint in Australia if other opportunities emerged.

"At this moment we don't have any specific plans other than Woodie Woodie, where we are very focused on the opening," Mr Jia said.

"Going forward, if there are other economic, viable opportunities surfacing we will definitely be looking at that."

OM Holdings, in which TMI is the fourth-largest shareholder, restarted production in February at its Bootu Creek manganese mine in the Northern Territory, where South32 also has its Groote Eylandt or GEMCO operation.

ConsMin chief executive Oleg Sheyko said the $30 million to be invested in Woodie Woodie would predominantly be spent on exploration to extend the project's seven-year mine life, further underscoring TMI's confidence in the Chinese steel sector and the manganese market.

"For the last six months we have seen a significant improvement in demand, the market is now in equilibrium [and] demand and supply are equal," Mr Sheyko said.

"We notice that the market is still volatile but we have a much more positive view on the market in the medium and long term. That is the main rationale for us to reopen."

More than 300 roles will be created by the restart.

Mr Sheyko said the company was particularly keen to hire skilled geologists to lead its exploration program and would welcome applications from operators set to lose their jobs due to the imminent closure of the Ravensthorpe nickel mine in the state's south.