Primero Group to take on EPC contract at Rio’s Koodaideri iron ore mine

Primero Group has secured a A$115 million ($79 million) contract with Rio Tinto’s iron ore division that will see it design, fabricate, supply, deliver, construct, install, test and commission the Mine Infrastructure Area and associated facilities at the Koodaideri iron ore project in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The scope includes the complete engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract of the facilities for this project, which will commence immediately and is scheduled to be completed in mid-2021.

Primero says it expects to employ a workforce of over 150 personnel at its peak.

Koodaideri, billed by Rio as an “intelligent mine”, will deliver a new production hub for Rio’s iron ore business in the Pilbara, incorporating a processing plant and infrastructure including a 166 km rail line connecting the mine to the existing network.

Construction on Koodaideri Phase 1 started this year with first production expected in late 2021. Once complete, the mine will have an annual capacity of 43 Mt, underpinning production of the company’s flagship iron ore product, Pilbara Blend.

In addition to mine infrastructure and the accommodation camp, an airport and mine support facilities will be built. Throughout the construction period, Rio expects to employ over 2,000 people with 600 permanent roles created once the mine is operational.

In addition to the Koodaideri work, Primero said it had been awarded Phase 2 of the proposed processing upgrade, on an engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) basis, for Northern Star Resources’ Pogo gold mine, in Alaska, USA.

The works will be conducted predominantly from Primero’s Americas Montreal (Canada) office with works progressively executed this winter to ensure construction windows are met in the summer period, it said.

The upgrade works will increase throughput of the current processing facility from 1 Mt/y to 1.3 Mt/y by January 2021, with the potential to move to a Phase 3 (1.5 Mt/y) over the coming years.

Primero said: “Works are set to progress over the next 12 months including detailed design and equipment procurement with the planning for on-site works commencing over the winter period to be executed in the warmer months, post winter.”

The award of the project is the first major contract with Northern Star Resources, Primero added.

Northern Star acquired Pogo, the company’s first mine outside of Australia, from Sumitomo Metal Mining late last year for $260 million.