Fluor says BHP’s $3.6 billion South Flank iron ore project, in the Pilbara of Western Australia, is on track for first ore in 2021, with the engineering firm having erected the first 1,500 t of modules in the ore handling plant.
This construction milestone is in the critical sequence to first ore and comes after achieving 50% project completion, announced by BHP in October 2019, Fluor said.
Fluor is providing engineering, procurement and construction management services on South Flank.
In December, Mammoet said it had started transporting the first heavy components for the under-construction mine, with around 1,900 items including prefabricated and modular mine processing plant units of various sizes set to be moved from Port Hedland to the new mine site.
When operational, South Flank will be one of the largest iron ore processing hubs in the world. The project will include an 80 Mt/y crushing and screening plant, an overland conveyor system and rail-loading facilities. The mine will replace production from BHP’s Yandi mine, which is nearing the end of its life.
South Flank engineering and procurement work is being performed from BHP’s office in Perth, with Fluor working together with BHP as an integrated project team, it said.
Tony Morgan, President of Fluor’s Mining and Metals business, said: “We are extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish with BHP on this project including our commitment to achieve diversity through the hiring of indigenous and local team members.
“The pioneering integrated team approach on this project is truly a collaborative effort. We look forward to continuing our long and successful relationship with BHP on this project and beyond.”
Richard Gerspacher, Project Director, said: “Based on the project routines and culture we’ve created, I am confident that the project will continue to proceed in a positive manner as we work towards first ore.”
Fluor previously performed the feasibility study for the project before it was awarded the follow-on construction and project management scope. Over the life of the project, it is expected that more than 9,000 people will be engaged in the South Flank work force.
Construction began in July 2018 and first production of iron ore is anticipated in 2021.