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$53m metal project approval to create 300 jobs in Pilbara

Atlas Iron staff
Atlas Iron staff

A ferrous metal producer has confirmed it will proceed with its proposed $53 million iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, securing the future of hundreds of jobs.

Atlas Iron recently indicated it would develop its Corunna Downs Iron Ore Project, 170km southeast of Port Hedland.

The project involves having the head contractor mine the deposit through an open-pit method, using a combination of conventional drilling, blasting, trucks and excavators.

There will be two months of development and a pre-strip process before the mine ramps-up to full production of up to 4 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa).

The Runway Pit closest to the run of mine (ROM) pad with a low-strip ratio would be mined first, followed by Shark Gully and finally Split Rock. Split Rock is the largest of all pits within the project area, and would be the main source of ore supply for the majority of the mine’s five-to-six year lifespan.

Ore from the pits will be hauled to the ROM pad for blending to the crusher. The finished product will then be stockpiled and transported to the Utah stockyard at Port Hedland by road.

The preferred Process Plant is a fixed dry crushing and screening plant, which would produce 4Mtpa and be built, owned, operated and maintained by the contractor. The plant, ROM and Product Yard would be located at the base of the Corunna Range. The 4Mtpa of finished product is expected to be hauled from the mine to Utah Point, using road trains by a haulage contractor.

QMEB can reveal the company intends to spend between $47m and $53m, primarily sourced from operating cash flow.

There are no positions advertised yet, but updates will be available on Atlas’ careers web page: careers.atlasiron.com.au/page.php?pageID=106

“This is a strong vote of confidence in Atlas by our lenders, several of whom are significant Atlas shareholders. Corunna Downs, together with Mt Webber, will rebuild our production rate to approximately 12mtpa after Wodgina and Abydos cease production in the first and second half of 2017 respectively,” Atlas managing director Cliff Lawrenson says.

“The amendments to the facility will enable Atlas to capitalise on current and future opportunities provided by the stronger iron ore price.”

Shipment of iron ore from Corunna Downs is planned to start in the March 2018 quarter.

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