Jupiter Mines has fuelled hopes it may restart its stalled $1.6 billion Mt Ida magnetite project by announcing a resource upgrade and revealing it was crunching the numbers to discover whether it could be developed.
Jupiter announced in November last year that it would freeze expenditure on Mt Ida because of depressed iron ore prices, the high cost environment and the strong Australian dollar.
It also cited uncertainty in delivering key infrastructure to enable the export of magnetite concentrate.
The company said the move would save it at least $20 million over the next six months.
But today Jupiter announced a 50 per cent upgrade in the resource at Mt Ida to 1.85 billion tonnes at 29.48 per cent iron, following the addition of 615mt from the northern and southern zones of the deposit.
Jupiter said today the Mount Ida magnetite project now had a significant resource with the feasibility study components well advanced.
"The near-term focus of the recently hired project director for Mt Ida is to evaluate the feasibility study work done to date so as to recommend project capex and opex optimisation strategies to make the project financially attractive for development," the company said in a statement.
With a planned 25-year mine life exporting 10mtpa, Mt Ida was expected to be a big customer of an expanded Esperance port, underpinning the investment to take it to a 30mtpa bulk cargo port.
Jupiter Mines shares were up 1.6 cents, or 16.16 per cent, to 11.5 cents at 9.45am.