PERTH (miningweekly.com) – ASX-listed Mineral Resources (MinRes) has started early works at its Onslow iron-ore project, in Western Australia, in the hopes of shipping first ore by December 2023.
The Onslow mine forms part of the Ashburton hub development, which is expected to cost between A$2.4-billion and A$2.55-billion to develop, with a 30-million-tonne-a-year capacity over an expected 30-year project life.
The Onslow mine is expected to produce at a rate of 20-million tonnes a year over a near 30-year period.
MinRes said that the Onslow development would unlock stranded deposits that would otherwise remain undeveloped in the West Pilbara region of Western Australia, using MinRes’ innovative and proprietary equipment designed to process and move bulk commodities at lower costs and with a reduced environmental footprint.
Following receipt of preliminary approvals, project preparations are on track and early construction activities including bulk earthworks have commenced at the Port of Ashburton, south of Onslow. At the nearby truck maintenance facility, installation of the temporary construction village is underway, with first buildings to be installed from early September.
Mine development activities have also progressed at the Ken’s Bore deposit, east of Onslow, with construction of the A320-capacity airport and the installation of two camps to support drilling and early construction works.
Recruitment for the construction phase of Onslow Iron is also well underway alongside a continued focus on community and stakeholder consultation.
In line with the project schedule, long-lead items have been ordered including the first transhippers, which will be used to load capesize vessels that will be anchored offshore from the Port of Ashburton. Each transhipper has a 20 000-t capacity, is fully enclosed to avoid dust pollution and has a significantly lower environmental footprint when compared to the major dredging activities that would be required to construct deepwater berths at the port.
“Onslow Iron will be transformational, not just for MinRes but for the state of Western Australia. This project will be the cornerstone of our iron-ore strategy to deliver low-cost, long-life operations with project economics that are compelling through commodity price cycles,” MinRes MD Chris Ellison said.
“We’re looking forward to delivering thousands of jobs for Western Australians and investing billions in the economy. Importantly, our innovations will drive lower emissions across the project. Onslow Iron has been designed with a low environmental footprint and will be dust-free from pit-to-port.
“We’re also setting a new fly-in, fly-out standard with our industry first, resort-style accommodation to ensure the physical and mental safety of our people and to encourage more women, and couples, to live on site,” he added.