Less than five months after breaking ground at the Wonmunna iron ore project in Western Australia, Mineral Resources Ltd has delivered first ore.
The Wonmunna operation, 80 km northwest of Newman and 360 km south of Port Hedland, was purchased from the Australian Aboriginal Mining Corporation (AAMC) in September 2020. In line with the undisclosed terms of the transaction, AAMC shareholders will receive a royalty in respect of the first 40 Mt extracted and removed from the area.
The project is set to ramp-up to its nameplate capacity of 5 Mt/y in the June quarter of 2021, but MinRes says there is potential to expand Wonmunna’s output to the designed capacity of 10 Mt/y upon the successful grant of additional approvals, at little extra capital costs.
Ore from the project will be used to underpin MinRes’ Utah Point Hub iron ore blend, which includes tonnes from its Iron Valley site. The addition of Wonmunna will help boost output from the Utah point export facility towards 14 Mt/y by the end of the December 2021 quarter, it says.
“Wonmunna’s rapid and safe development is testimony to the MRL team’s ability to deliver what others thought impossible,” the company said. “This is a great outcome not just for MRL but also for AAMC’s shareholders, who will shortly receive their first royalty cheque from Wonmunna, and the people of Western Australia as the project has created 500 jobs across the mine site and transport network.”