Late last week, BHP confirmed first production was reached at the South Flank iron mine, Australia’s largest new iron ore complex in more than half a century.
The mine, located in the Pilbara, had a price tag of more than US$3.6 billion and will sustain a target of 80 million tonnes per year and ramp that up to 145 Mt annually together with the mining from its existing Area C.
Minerals Australia President Edgar Basto, who noted the mine was brought online on budget and on time, said that the start of South Flank will increase the entire country’s average iron ore grade from 61% to 62% and overall proportion of lump from 25% to between 30%-35%.
It will use the already existing infrastructure of Area C as well, which it has expanded to include an 80-tonne-per-year crushing and screening plant, overland conveyor, train loader, stockyard and new fleet items.
“South Flank’s ore will supply global steel markets for the next 25 years, helping to build electricity, transport and urban infrastructure across the globe; its high-quality ore will have an important role in helping BHP’s customers lower their greenhouse gas emissions,” said the executive.
“South Flank is on Banjima country, and this milestone would not have been possible without their support and collaboration over many years. We are proud of our longstanding partnership and strong working relationship with the Banjima people, and we thank them for their vital contribution to this success.”
South Flank will have an operational payroll of more than 600. BHP said its diverse, highly skilled workforce includes 40% females and 15% Indigenous staff.