Mining Intelligence and News

Cape Flattery Project

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Mine TypeOpen Pit
  • Silica
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
  • Dry mining
Mine Life... Lock
SnapshotThe objective of the Cape Flattery Silica Sand (CFS) Project is to extract high purity silica sand, a critical mineral to supply the fast-growing solar panel manufacturing industry.

On the 15 December 2023 the Metallica Minerals received approval from the Office of the Co-Ordinator General that the Cape Flattery Silica project meets the criteria for a coordinated project under the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971.

The Project approval application process is underway.


Metallica Minerals Ltd. 100 % Indirect
The Cape Flattery Silica Sands Project is held by Metallica Minerals Ltd through subsidiary company Cape Flattery Silica Pty Ltd.

Deposit type

  • Mineral sands


The Cape Flattery Silica (CFS) Sand Project is a large surface deposit of overlying sand dunes that lies in the northern most part of the Quaternary age Cape Flattery—Cape Bedford dunefield complex.

The geology comprises variably re-worked aeolian sand (silica) dune deposits associated with Quaternary age sand-dune complex. The mineralisation is high grade quartz (silica) and it occurs as sand deposits within an aeolian dune complex.

Cape Flattery Silica Mines, which also lies at the northern end of the dune field, has been in operation since 1967 and is Queensland’s largest producer of world class silica and the highest production of silica sand of any mine in the world.

The linear sand dunes developed predominantly during the dry Pleistocene glacial and interglacial periods when the sea-level receded and fluctuated approx. 100m below present. Prior to sea level rises in the Holocene (10,000 years before present) sand was blown inland by the prevailing south-easterly winds to form linear dunes and is now interspersed with numerous lakes and swamps. The land sand masses form mainly as elongate parabolic and longitudinal dunes. Multiple episodes of dune building are evident. Most dunes are stabilised by vegetation, but some active dune fronts occur. Periods of water level table fluctuations, erosion and depositional phases have occurred.

Silica sand mineralisation occurs as aeolian dune sands.

The extent and variability of the Mineral Resource is expressed in terms of the full Resource Area.

Max Length (along strike): 2.4km

Max Width: 2.3km.

Area: The Mineral Resource covers an area of approximately 315ha.

Drill Hole Thickness: The sand intercept (SiO2) thickness ranges from 2m to 36m averaging 19m.

Top of Resource: The top of the resource corresponds to the topography ranging from 10mRL to 105mRL.

Bottom of Resource: The base of the resource corresponds to basement/water table ranging from 5mRL to 85mRL.

There are three soil units mapped within the Project area classified under the Soils of Cape York Peninsula. The Project area contains rudosol and tenosol soils. The soils across the Project area are described as poorly graded fine sands, poorly graded silt sands and silty sand. A review of the Australian Soil Resource Information System (ASRIS) register of acid sulphate soils of Australia indicates the Project area is located in an area of extremely low probability, very low confidence for presence of acid sulphate soils (ASRIS 2014).

Somerset (Soil Type: Orthic Tenosol)
Deep sandy soils, very deep uniform coastal sands deposited on laterite and other surfaces.

Hodge (Soil Type: Bleached-Leptic Tenosol/ Brown Kandosol)
Shallow stony soils, very shallow to shallow bleached uniform or gradational brown soils formed on greywacke and slate.

Daunt (Soil Type: Aeric Podosol)
Shallow stony soils, giant uniform bleached sand over orstein pan, in coastal sand dunes.



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Mining Methods


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Crushers and Mills

Milling equipment has not been reported.



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CommodityUnitsAvg. AnnualLOM
Silica Mt 2.538
All production numbers are expressed as sand.

Operational metrics

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Ore tonnes mined, LOM  ....  Subscribe
Tonnes processed, LOM  ....  Subscribe
* According to 2023 study.

Production Costs

Cash costs Silica USD  ....  Subscribe
Total cash costs Silica USD  ....  Subscribe
All-in sustaining costs (AISC) Silica USD  ....  Subscribe
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* According to 2023 study / presentation.

Project Costs

MetricsUnitsLOM Total
Initial CapEx $M AUD  ......  Subscribe
OP OpEx $M AUD  ......  Subscribe
Processing OpEx $M AUD 219.3
Site services costs $M AUD 39.8
Transportation (haulage) costs $M AUD 305.3
G&A costs $M AUD 91
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Required Heavy Mobile Equipment


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Mine Management

Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Feb 21, 2024

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Aerial view:


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