PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Construction of BHP’s South Flank mine, in the Pilbara, is some 84% complete, project manager Simon Thomas told the Global Iron and Steel Forecast conference.
Thomas on Tuesday said that first production from the $3.6-billion South Flank operation was still targeted for mid-2021, however, ramp-up to nameplate capacity would likely be done over "several years", given the size and complexity of the operation.
The South Flank operation will leverage and expand on the existing Mining Area C hub, and is BHP's preferred option to replace the 80-million-tonne-a-year Yandi mine, which will reach the end of its mine life in early- to mid-2020.
The operation would increase the production levels from Mining Area C from the current 65-million tonnes a year to 145-million tonnes a year.
Thomas said that BHP would work to bring the South Flank operation to nameplate capacity over the course of several years, with the ramp-up of operations to coincide with the transition of the Yandi operation.