PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Iron-ore miner Fortescue Metals has turned the first sod at its $1.25-billion Eliwana mine and rail project, in the Pilbara.
“This is a proud day for Fortescue as we celebrate the largest project since the Kings Valley mine in 2014,” Fortescue chairperson and founder Andrew Forrest said on Friday.
“Since Fortescue was founded 16 years ago, we have held community and family at our core and continued to deliver on our commitment to be the safest, lowest cost company. Eliwana is the next great step into the Western Hub, enhancing our profitability and extending our mine life.”
The Eliwana mine consists of a new 30-million-tonne-a-year dry ore processing facility and infrastructure and a 143-km rail line. The development will use the latest technology, autonomous tricks and design efficiency.
Production is expected to start in December 2020, and the mine will introduce a 60% iron-grade product into Fortescue’s portfolio by the second half of the 2019 financial year.
“The Eliwana mine and rail project will deliver a significant boost to Western Australia's economy, with around 2 400 jobs in total created for Western Australian workers,” Premier Mark McGowan said at the sod turning event.
“Eliwana is one of a number of large projects we expect will come on line in the next few years, which points to confidence returning to our state's economy.”
Contracts to the value of A$330-million to date have been awarded to more than 250 Australian business entities as part of the Eliwana mine and rail development, of which 80% are Western Australian owned businesses.
As further approvals are progressed, it is expected that over A$500-million in additional contracts will be awarded by the end of 2019.