The grant of a mining lease at Sheffield Resources’ Thunderbird mineral sands project in Western Australia will stand after the Federal Court threw out an appeal by a native title group.

Investors welcomed the news with the stock (ASX:SFX) climbing 6 per cent to 56c on Friday, with close to 500,000 shares changing hands.

In June, National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) gave its blessing to the mining lease on which the Thunderbird project is located.

However, the good news was short-lived with the Mount Jowlaenga Polygon #2 claimant group appealing the good faith decision by the NNTT.

The Court’s decision to dismiss the appeal means the determination by the NNTT stands — and the mining lease at Thunderbird can be granted.

Despite the decision, Sheffield said there was a period within which the matter could be appealed to the full Federal Court, because Friday’s ruling was by a single judge of the Federal Court.

Sheffield’s managing director Bruce McFadzean said the decision was a good result for shareholders and the local community.

“We have received overwhelming support from the local region and we look forward to advancing Thunderbird to unlock benefits and opportunities for all stakeholders.

“Sheffield has pledged a commitment to local employment, with a particular emphasis on supporting aboriginal employment as evidenced through our recently implemented work ready program” he said.

Earlier this month, Sheffield inked its first binding deal with a leading Indian ceramics company for the future sale of premium zircon from Thunderbird.

Thunderbird is one of the largest and highest grade mineral sands discoveries of the past 30 years.

Sheffield’s Bankable Feasibility Study shows Thunderbird is a technically low risk, modest capex project that generates strong cash margins from production over a mine life of 42 years.

Initial production from Thunderbird is expected in 2019.