Iron Bridge magnetite project – Stage 2, Australia – update

Image of Iron Bridge mine

Photo by Fortescue Metals Group

16th June 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Iron Bridge magnetite project – Stage 2.

About 145 km south of Port Hedland, in Pilbara, Western Australia.

Project Owner/s
An unincorporated joint venture (JV) between Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) subsidiary FMG Iron Bridge, or FMG IB, (69%), and Formosa Steel (31%).

FMG will manage and operate the project with full marketing rights.

Project Description
The project has a mineral resource of 5.45-billion tonnes, including an ore reserve of 716-million tonnes and a mine life of more than 20 years.

The Stage 2 development follows the $500-million investment in the successful Stage 1 construction of large-scale pilot and demonstration plants, which have validated key equipment and magnetite production processes for the full-scale Stage 2 ore-processing facility.

Stage 2 development includes:

  • a 22-million-wet-metric-tonne-a-year ore-processing facility (once at full operational capacity);
  • an airstrip and expanded village;
  • a 195 km canning basin water pipeline;
  • a 135 km concentrate pipeline to FMG’s Herb Elliot port facility, in Port Hedland, and a return process water pipeline; and
  • port-handling facilities, including concentrate dewatering, covered storage and reclaiming/conveying, to existing port outload circuits.

The project aims to produce 22-million wet metric tonnes a year once full operational capacity is achieved. Iron Bridge will deliver a premium product with an iron content of 67%.

Potential Job Creation
Since the investment decision in April 2019, more than 12.8-million work hours have culminated in the design and construction of the mine, pipelines, village and infrastructure at Iron Bridge, supporting more than 3 000 jobs, with another 900 full-time jobs to be created when the project moves into operations. There are currently 3 470 people working across the ore-processing facility and pipeline’s scope of work.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
Not stated.

Capital Expenditure

Planned Start/End Date
First ore is scheduled for the March quarter of 2023.

Latest Developments
Fortescue Metals has signed an A$18-million agreement with the Nyamal traditional custodians to provide mining equipment for the Iron Bridge magnetite project.

The agreement, which builds on the contracts worth A$331-million that have been awarded to Nyamal businesses since 2019, will result in Nyamal Holdings’ initially providing five contour drill rigs, one stemming loader and two platform rigs to Fortescue. This will expand to include six additional platform rigs over the next two years to meet the Iron Bridge mine plan.

“The drill and blast programme at Iron Bridge represents one of the most crucial aspects to achieving maximum throughput in the processing plant. We are pleased that we have been able to partner with Nyamal to deliver this important capability,” Fortescue CEO Fiona Hick has said.

Iron Bridge produced its first magnetite product in early May.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
NRW Holdings (bulk earthworks); and SIMPEC (wet processing plant construction).

Contact Details for Project Information
FMG, tel +61 8 6218 8888.
Formosa Steel, tel +886 2 2712 221.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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