Connect with us

Thunderbird Mineral Sands Project

Our Commission

Discover more about the Kimberley Development Commission.

Kimberley Mineral Sands (KMS) is a joint venture between Sheffield Resources Limited and Yansteel. Together they are developing the Thunderbird Mineral Sands Project located approximately halfway between Derby and Broome. The site has one of the largest and highest-grade mineral sands deposits known.

The Thunderbird Mineral Sands project consists of a large-scale zircon and ilmenite open cut mine and mineral concentration and separation plant. The site is located on the Dampier Peninsula about 65 km west of Derby, and 25 km north of the sealed Great Northern Highway.

Sheffield Resources Limited completed a scoping study in 2014 and pre-feasibility study in 2015, leading to the announcement of a maiden ore reserve in January 2016. A Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) on Thunderbird was completed in March 2017 demonstrating the project could produce and market high-quality zircon and ilmenite products at large volumes to Asian markets. 

In 2018 a native title co-existence agreement was signed by native title holders which ensures strong protection of heritage and environment within the agreement, and in January 2021 Sheffield and Yansteel executed binding agreements for the formation of a 50:50 Joint Venture (Kimberley Mineral Sands Pty Ltd or ‘KMS’) to own and develop the Thunderbird Mineral Sands Project and adjacent tenements on the Dampier Peninsula.

Stage 1 and 2 of the Project has a current mine life of greater than 37 years with low environmental impacts and long-term community benefits, including a commitment to local jobs promising intergenerational employment for the West Kimberley and regional development prospects.

The project has all necessary primary approvals in place and is ready for contracting and subsequent construction. A final investment decision is anticipated in 2022, with first exports through Kimberley ports in 2024.

Kimberley Mineral Sands has made steady and significant progress towards construction of Thunderbird including having it fully permitted and construction ready.

Useful links and documents:

Sheffield Resources website

GR Engineering Scope of work

Useful Links

Invest In the Kimberley

The Kimberley boasts many progressive, vibrant and promising industries with large potential for future growth.

Annual Report

Ensuring the transparency and accountability for the Kimberley Development Commission.

Our Region

The Kimberley is a complex landscape that represents one sixth of Western Australia’s land mass; equivalent to twice the size of Victoria.

Local Content

Our Local Content Advisor will help develop, promote and maximise opportunities in the regions.


Stay up to date with the latest Kimberley news

Skip to content