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About: The Snapper sand mine near Pooncarie in the Murray Valley area of South West New South Wales is owned and operated by Bemax Resources, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cristal Australia Pty Ltd. Cristal in turn is fully owned by Arabian firm, National Titanium Dioxide Company, a privately owned organisation with its headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. These ownership changes of Bemax occurred in 2008 with Cristal taking up all of Bemax shares. The result being that Bemax was removed from the Australian Stock Exchange official list, owing to the takeover being an off market deal.

Bemax Operates two Sand Mines in the one Area

The takeover of Bemax involved two sand mines in the same area, the older Ginkgo mine and the newer Snapper operation. Both mines send their sand to their mineral separation plant at Broken Hill by truck for processing.

The last report from Bemax was received in 2009 where it stated its total resource in the Murray Basin amounted to more than 95 million tonnes. It said this resource contained heavy minerals. Being a private company it no longer publishes what resources it holds in its various individual deposits or areas.

In 2011 the Snapper and Ginkgo mines combined produced the following output:
  • Rutile – 84,863 tonnes
  • Zircon – 32,564 tonnes
  • Ilmenite – 239,355 tonnes

  • The Snapper mine involved the extension of development within the Snapper mineral sands deposit as well as the extension of the highway access road and electricity transmission line. Silver City Highway access being important in transporting the mineral concentrate to the mineral separation plant at Broken Hill 170 kilometres to its north.

    Snapper Mining Potential First Recognised in 1999
    The mineral sand deposit in the Snapper mine locality was first recognised as having important potential for commercial exploitation in August 1999 after five drill holes intersected a zone of considerable mineralisation. This find led to further drilling being carried out in 2001 and 2002 for the purposes of gaining a better understanding of the extent of the deposit. Around 600 drill holes were carried out during this time to further define areas of uncertainty. The next move included resource modelling and mine planning by putting together all the information derived from the drilling and sampling programs. Further drilling programs carried out in 2005 and 2006 completed the proving up of the resource. During this time some 75,000 metres of drilling had been undertaken involving 1,219 drill holes. The reserve was then indicated as being 117 million tonnes of sand ore containing 5 percent heavy mineralisation made up of 55 percent ilmenite, 16 percent rutile and 10 percent zircon. Nine percent of leucoxene being included in with the ilmenite estimation. These findings made the Snapper deposit twice as valuable as far as grade is concerned as was the already operating Ginkgo mineral sands mine 10 kilometres to its north.

    Snapper can be Seen as an Extension of the Nearby Ginkgo Mine
    The Snapper mineral sands mine in the Murray Valley area of NSW uses the same dredge previously used at another of Bemax's mines in Western Australia prior to that mine closing in 2005.It is also fortunate in that it's also able to share in much of the infrastructure that already exists at the company's nearby Ginkgo mine. In many ways the new mine is looked on as being an extension of the Ginkgo operation.

    Cristal Mining

    Cristal Australia Pty Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of The National Titanium Dioxide Company Limited (Cristal). Cristal is a privately owned company with headquarters in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In 2008, Cristal Australia acquired all of the shares in Bemax via an off-market more


    Cristal Mining
    53 Quill Way
    Henderson, WA 6166



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