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Welcome to the first newsletter from the Thunderbird Mineral Sands Project team. As Thunderbird moves closer to construction, we are transitioning to an E-Newsletter format, that will be published on the website -

The newsletter will contain information about the topics that you have told us are important to you.

Thunderbird Status... Thunderbirds a Goer ... almost


Thunderbird construction kick-off is conditional on environmental and Native Title permitting, as well as progression of product sales agreements, the funding task and a Final Investment Decision (FID). Recent project highlights include:

  • Maiden binding offtake agreements secured for 44% of Stage 1 premium zircon production
  • $250M debt mandate in place
  • Preferred Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) tenderer appointed
  • Appeal to Native Title determination dismissed by the Federal Court, in favour of Sheffield
  • EPA recommends approval of Thunderbird to the Minister for Environment
  • Sheffield launches Aboriginal Training and Employment Program
Project Update

Community - you told us we are listening

Sheffield has engaged vigorously with stakeholders over the past years. The comments recorded during hundreds of workshops, consultations, meetings, events and presentations have been analysed and expressed in themes.

Stakeholders want engagement to continue during construction of Thunderbird so that they remain informed of milestones, impact management and of Sheffield's performance against commitments. The themes most important to the community are:

  • Engagement, consultation and transparency
  • Local employment and business opportunity
  • Aboriginal opportunity
  • Kimberley culture, brand and lifestyle values
  • Community safety
  • Conservation and environment
  • Port and road user impacts
  • Impacts on service provision

These themes will continue to set the scene for our engagement in the Kimberley, in our communications, discussions and activities.

Health and Safety

b1951b43-329b-4345-be5e-2a1e528c8398.jpg"The Risk Management process took off with a workshop to identify Thunderbird risks and existing controls, and we are in the process of landing additional actions to close any gaps.

The development of the Safety Management System is moving ahead, with the Thunderbird Safety Management Plan and associated documents in the process of being launched, with others on the production line.

A Safety and Event Management Software System has been identified with further evaluation underway.” 

Greg Stagbouer, H&S Consultant


The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has recommended approval of Thunderbird subject to conditions which include provision of an offset for the Greater Bilby. Subsequently, the EPA Report was open for public review in October 2017, attracting a number of submissions. The EPA and Sheffield provided responses to these submissions to the Appeals Convenor, who manages the process forward.

Our People

962d06eb-6890-4895-b47b-834aa766a550.jpgThe Thunderbird team has grown steadily whilst we work toward project go-ahead.

Darrin Wells, Owner Works Superintendent, has been with Thunderbird since June, regularly working between Broome and Derby as he plans for early works before construction of the main plant can start. Darrin will oversee the building of access roads, communications infrastructure and accommodation village.

With the anticipated December graduation of Sheffield's 18 locally-based Thunderbird work ready program participants, successful graduates will transition into a group training program in the new year. This group will be involved in the installation of the Thunderbird Village for early works which will give them claim to first hands on deck at Thunderbird.

Image: Darrin Wells inspects the village, recently acquired by Sheffield in preparation for Thunderbird construction activities in 2018.

Thunderbird Mineral Sands Project

1513a90d-af88-4df9-835f-93cbd3f77b5c.jpgSheffield Resources is developing the Thunderbird Mineral Sands Project mid-way between Derby and Broome in the Kimberley, in north-west Australia.

With a mine life of 42 years and a commitment to local jobs, this project promises intergenerational employment, Aboriginal and regional development prospects.

Construction of the mine is planned to commence in the coming months, with first exports expected through the ports of Derby and Broome in 2019.

Image: Thunderbird Rangers Terry Marshall and Roneill Skeen (left) at work on-country, having installed a water monitoring bore.

Additional ground water monitoring bores at Thunderbird and in the wider area are being drilled by local contractor Kimberley Water under supervision by hydrogeologists Rockwater Pty Ltd. Baseline groundwater monitoring confirms groundwater modelling and helps us understand the aquifers' responses to abstraction and recharge.

Thunderbird Project Video


We are currently seeking an experienced Owner Works Supervisor and a Village Construction Supervisor to join our team.  The positions were advertised in the Broome Advertiser on 16 November and are listed on Seek.

News and Views fe0720ab-ccd4-45bb-86d4-a052538f5462.jpg

Darren Cross, DWA Industrial, Derby

"The Derby West Kimberley contingent of Sheffield Cadet Participants attended the Derby Chamber of Commerce where they introduced themselves and had good discussions about prospects in the Thunderbird Mineral Sands Project with Sheffield's Jim Netterfield, Kim Pervan and Susan Weir. Thanks for coming up and it was great to see the Cadets integrating with the Sheffield staff. I was very proud of them."

Mr Ian Blayney MLA, Member for Geraldton, Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food; Forestry; Fisheries discusses Thunderbird during a recent debate in the Western Australian Parliament.

"The other mine that I want to talk about briefly is another new mineral sands mine in the Kimberley halfway between Broome and Derby namely, Sheffield Resources Thunderbird mine. It is a high-grade, zircon-rich mine of a large scale and high quality. The interesting thing about this mine is that the company planned for it quite differently. Right from the start, it said no to FIFO workers. It has a strong focus on Aboriginal employment with its first target to ensure that 30 per cent of its employees are Aboriginal. It is now training those people. Anybody who knows West Kimberley is aware of the continuous competition between Derby and Broome.

The good thing about the Thunderbird mine is that some of its product will go out through Broome and some of it will go out through Derby, which is a good compromise for both ports. It is a long-term project at least 40 years and given the countryside where it is located, it will be able to be completely rehabilitated after mining. There will be quite minimal disturbance. There are native title issues sitting around this one. I urge the government to do everything it can to help get the project off the ground. It will be quite a significant project for West Kimberley for the reasons I have just outlined. The Thunderbird deposit that belongs to Sheffield Resources will also have reserves around Eneabba. It is an incredibly valuable and exciting project for West Kimberley. With that, I conclude my remarks."

Hansard Summary, 2 November, Legislative Assembly

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Sheffield Resources · Level 2 · 41-47 Colin St · West Perth, WA 6005 · Australia

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