Tag Archives: magnetite

Civmec to build foundations for key Iron Bridge processing equipment

Civmec’s Metals and Minerals division has been awarded a standalone civil contract to build the structural concrete components for the dry plant at the jointly-owned Iron Bridge magnetite project in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The “Dry Plant Detailed Earthworks and Concrete” package was awarded by the owners of the project, Fortescue Metals Group subsidiary, FMG Iron Bridge Ltd, and Formosa Steel IB.

The project will see a new magnetite mine developed to support production of 22 Mt/y of high grade, magnetite concentrate product.

Civmec’s scope includes constructing the structural concrete components for the primary, secondary and tertiary crushing areas, screening areas, air classification and primary grinding areas, course ore stockpile, dry rejects, conveyors and all related earthing. It will involve over 350,000 cu.m of earthworks, the fixing of some 5,000 tons (4,536 t) of steel reinforcement and the placement of around 38,000 cu.m of concrete.

These works will employ over 200 of Civmec’s skilled workforce at peak, plus a commitment to engage with Local Aboriginal Enterprises, Civmec said, adding that the works will commence immediately with an expected completion in the March quarter of 2022.

Civmec’s Chief Executive Officer, Patrick Tallon, said: “Through our current delivery of works for Fortescue in the Pilbara, we have formed a strong working relationship built on transparency, trust and collaboration and reliable execution. Hence, we are extremely pleased to be given this further opportunity to continue to work with Fortescue on the Iron Bridge project.

“This is an exciting project of a very significant scale with a declared value for the overall project being $2.6 billion. The Iron Bridge joint venture has demonstrated and refined each step of the magnetite ore processing system and conducted full-scale trials to ensure the effectiveness of the process and gain confidence in the overall project success.”

This most recent contract award, combined with some other recent awards and scope increases on existing contracts, take the group’s current order book to circa-A$901 million ($625 million).

PROK conveyor pulleys to feature at Fortescue’s Iron Bridge magnetite project

Global conveyor components manufacturer PROK has been awarded a major contract for the design, manufacture and supply of conveyor pulleys at the Iron Bridge Magnetite project, a joint venture between Fortescue Metals Group subsidiary FMG Iron Bridge and Formosa Steel IB Pty. Ltd, near Port Hedland in Western Australia.

PROK will produce around 170 complete pulleys from its Bayswater production facility in Perth, Western Australia. The pulleys will be installed across 25 new conveyors at the Iron Bridge site.

PROK says it is an expert in conveyor equipment and specialises in solutions that help mining companies across the globe keep their conveyor systems running efficiently and safely.

PROK General Manager, Wade Guelfi, said the Iron Bridge contract award highlighted PROK’s high level of technical capability and manufacturing experience.

“As a recognised leader in large engineered pulleys, we were a perfect fit for this type of project,” he said. “Our advanced in-house engineering team worked closely with the client to design a pulley solution that meets all project requirements.”

The pulleys range in sizes from 500-1,200 mm diameter and will be delivered in six stages starting in January 2021, the company said.

The contract forms part of Stage 2 of the Iron Bridge project, which involves construction of a large-scale process plant and port infrastructure to support 22 Mt/y (wet) of magnetite production. Stage 1 (pictured), completed successfully, was achieved by building and operating a full-scale pilot plant at the North Star mine site. This pilot project included the use of a dry crushing and grinding circuit, which FMG plans to leverage in stage two.

In FMG’s March quarter results, released late last month, the company said the $2.6 billion project was progressing on schedule and budget, with first concentrate production planned in the first half of calendar year 2022.

“We are excited to be part of this project and proud to be supporting Fortescue with heavy-duty engineered pulleys manufactured right here in Western Australia,” Guelfi added. “We look forward to working closely with FMG as the project progresses.”

Cundaline Resources to work on Iron Bridge magnetite project

Fortescue Metals Group has awarded 100% Aboriginal owned company, Cundaline Resources Pty, with the contract for the West Canning Basin earthworks at its majority owned Iron Bridge magnetite project, in Western Australia.

The award, which continues FMG’s longstanding commitment to supporting local and Aboriginal businesses, will see the group carry out the earthworks, access preparation and rehabilitation services associated with the hydrogeology drilling program for the Iron Bridge project.

The Iron Bridge project will deliver 22 Mt/y (wet) of high grade 67% Fe magnetite concentrate product, according to FMG, with the first stage completed successfully by building and operating a full-scale pilot plant at the North Star mine site. This pilot project included the use of a dry crushing and grinding circuit, which FMG plans to leverage in stage two.

The second stage of the project comprises the construction of a large-scale process plant, and port infrastructure to support the production of 22 Mt/y (wet) of iron ore.

In FMG’s March quarter results, released late last month, the company said the $2.6 billion project was progressing on schedule and budget, with first concentrate production planned in the first half of calendar year 2022.

Key milestones in the three-month period included detailed engineering passing the halfway mark, procurement of major long lead process equipment committed and the first blast at the ore processing facility site, enabling bulk earthworks to commence.

Fortescue’s Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said Fortescue’s Aboriginal procurement initiative, Billion Opportunities, has awarded over A$2.5 billion ($1.6 billion) in contracts and sub-contracts to Aboriginal businesses and joint venture partners since the program began in 2011.

“We are committed to building on this proud track record through our growth projects, Eliwana and Iron Bridge, which have already awarded over A$60 million in contracts to Aboriginal businesses,” she said.

“Importantly, Billion Opportunities is focused on building the capability and capacity of Aboriginal businesses, and it is very pleasing to see Cundaline, a business which commenced operations as a labour hire company, now expand into earthworks and mechanical maintenance contracting areas.”

Cundaline’s Managing Director, Brenden Taylor, said: “The West Canning Basin Earthworks contract is a milestone project and the first of a number of potential opportunities on the Iron Bridge magnetite project for Cundaline.

“We have worked hard to transition our company from a labour hire specialist to a contracting entity managing and delivering our own projects. I am particularly proud of my team for their professionalism and ‘can do’ attitude and not giving up during the tough times.

“Along this journey we have worked together with other Aboriginal businesses and I especially want to acknowledge Fortescue, through the Billion Opportunities initiative, for making a real difference for a local and Aboriginal business like Cundaline to continue to grow our capacity and capability into the future.”

NRW Holdings wins bulk earthworks assignment from Iron Bridge project partners

NRW Holdings is about to mobilise a team to carry out bulk earthworks at Fortescue Metals’ majority-owned Iron Bridge magnetite project in Western Australia.

The contractor confirmed it had received a notice of award for the bulk earthworks assignment from the Iron Bridge joint venture (between FMG subsidiary FMG Iron Bridge and Formosa Steel IB) and, while the award remained subject to finalisation, it had been directed to commence mobilisation.

The $2.6 billion Iron Bridge project will see the development of a new magnetite mine (including processing and transport facilities) and associated infrastructure. It will support production of 22 Mt/y (wet) of high grade (67% Fe), magnetite concentrate product, according to the partners. Production is expected by mid-2022. The Iron Bridge site comprises the North Star, Eastern Limb, Glacier Valley and West Star magnetite iron ore deposits and is 145 km south of Port Hedland.

The contract scope for NRW includes the bulk earthworks and drainage for roads, processing plant and infrastructure for the new mine site development. The contract value is around A$70 million ($47 million) and is expected to have a duration of around 45 weeks, NRW said. At its peak, there will be some 200 site based personnel required for the project.

NRW’s CEO and Managing Director, Jules Pemberton, said: “NRW is pleased to be involved in this exciting new project with Fortescue and looks forward to its successful execution.”

Fortescue continues to invest in power options for Iron Bridge development

Fortescue Metals Group is to invest $450 million as part of a program that will see hybrid solar gas energy delivered to the under-construction Iron Bridge magnetite project in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The Pilbara Generation project – as it is called – is the next stage of its Pilbara Energy Connect program, the company said. This complements the $250 million Pilbara Transmission project, announced in October 2019, and will provide low cost power to the energy efficient Iron Bridge project.

The $2.6 billion Iron Bridge Magnetite project is expected to deliver 22 Mt/y of high-grade 67% Fe concentrate production by mid-2022.

The Pilbara Transmission project consists of 275 km of high voltage transmission lines connecting Fortescue’s mine sites, while the Pilbara Generation project will include 150 MW of gas-fired generation, together with 150 MW of solar photovoltaic generation. This will be supplemented by large scale battery storage and will be constructed, owned and operated by Fortescue, the company said.

Together, the transmission and generation projects, totalling $700 million of investment, form the Pilbara Energy Connect program of works providing Fortescue with a hybrid solar gas energy solution that will enable low cost power to be delivered to Iron Bridge. “This allows Fortescue to leverage its existing energy infrastructure including the Fortescue River Gas Pipeline and generation capacity at the Solomon power station and support the incorporation of large scale renewable energy,” the company said.

The Pilbara Energy Connect project builds on the Chichester Solar Gas Hybrid project which was announced last year. This landmark agreement with Alinta Energy will see up to 100% of daytime stationary energy requirements of the Chichester Hub iron ore operations powered by renewable energy.

Alinta will build, own and operate the 60 MW solar PV generation facility at the Chichester Hub and 60 km transmission line linking the Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mining operations with Alinta Energy’s Newman gas-fired power station. On completion, this will integrate with the Pilbara Energy Connect program, via the Pilbara Transmission project.

Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “Mining is a 24/7 operation and efficient, reliable, competitive energy generation remains an important consideration for the mining sector in Western Australia. The lack of an integrated transmission network in the Pilbara has been a key barrier to entry for large scale renewables and Fortescue’s investment will address this issue.

“Fortescue’s commitment of $700million in electricity generation and transmission infrastructure will complete the integration of Fortescue’s stationary energy requirements in the Pilbara into an efficient network, while lowering the overall cost of electricity to existing and future sites.

“By installing 150 MW of solar PV as part of the Pilbara Generation project, the modelling indicates we will avoid up to 285,000 t of CO2/y in emissions, as compared to generating electricity solely from gas.

“Importantly, Pilbara Energy Connect allows for large scale renewable generation such as solar or wind to be connected at any point on the integrated network, positioning Fortescue to readily increase our use of renewable energy in the future.”

Pilbara Energy Connect builds on Fortescue’s previous energy initiatives, including the construction of the Fortescue River Gas Pipeline, the conversion of the Solomon Power Station from diesel to gas generation, as well as a partnership agreement with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to develop and commercialise hydrogen technology.

Weir secures largest-ever individual mining order from Fortescue

The Weir Group says it has been awarded a £100 million ($123 million) order to provide industry-leading energy saving solutions to the Iron Bridge magnetite project, a joint venture between Fortescue Metals Group and Formosa Steel IB.

The order, which includes a range of Weir crushing and pump equipment including Enduron® high pressure grinding rolls (HPGRs) and GEHO® pumps, will reduce energy consumption and wet tailings waste by more than 30% compared with traditional mining technologies, according to the equipment manufacturer.

The Iron Bridge project, 145 km south of Port Hedland in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, is a $2.6 billion investment in premium magnetite iron ore reserves with annual production, when the mine is fully operational, of 22 Mt/y of 67% Fe concentrate. Delivery of the first ore is expected in 2022.

When the mine build was approved back in April, Fortescue CEO, Elizabeth Gaines, said the innovative design for the project, which included the use of a dry crushing and grinding circuit, “will deliver an industry-leading energy efficient operation with globally competitive capital intensity and operating costs”.

A pilot project to verify the Iron Bridge project design involved processing 1 Mt of ore through a full scale HPGR and air classifier, according to Fortescue.

Weir Group Chief Executive Officer, Jon Stanton, said: “We are delighted to have secured this landmark contract, which is Weir’s largest-ever individual mining order.

“Fortescue challenged us to help create one of the most energy and cost-efficient magnetite ore processing facilities in the world. Our engineers have worked relentlessly to design a solution that is truly innovative – delivering significant energy, water and cost savings. This is a great example of working in close partnership with an ambitious customer who shares our passion for using innovative engineering to make mining more productive and sustainable.”

Ricardo Garib, President of the Weir Minerals division, added: “Our team are really enjoying working with Fortescue. Our engineers relish a challenge and it has been great to work on a project that demonstrates the substantial cost and environmental savings that our range of solutions can offer.

“As more mines look to increase productivity, we look forward to even more opportunities to leverage our combination of passionate people, innovative solutions and comprehensive global service capability.”

Weir’s Enduron HPGRs are increasingly replacing conventional mills in comminution (crushing, screening and grinding) circuits because of their substantially lower energy consumption and potential for significant total cost of ownership reduction, Weir says.

“Not only do they require as much as 40% less energy than traditional alternatives, but their wearable components last much longer and the maintenance time required to replace worn out parts is significantly lower.”

The company outlined the reasons why companies are turning to Enduron HPGRs in a blog post earlier this week.

CU-River Mining looks to create South Australia bulk transhipment facility

Flinders Power Partnership has agreed to sell CU-River Mining the former power station at Port Augusta, South Australia, with the iron ore focused company looking to turn the site into a bulk commodity, transhipment port facility.

The acquisition is expected to provide a substantial jobs boon for the Upper Spencer Gulf town, according to CU-River Mining.

Construction will start once feasibility and approvals are complete, the company said, with more than 150 people employed at peak and up to 100 permanent positions to be created once the facility is in operation.

It is expected the facility will have an initial capacity up to 15 Mt/y. However, future export potential via a multi-stage development approach, is in excess of 50 Mt/y.

It is proposed the A$250 million ($181 million) port facility will be capable of handling iron ore, grain and other commodities. Barges will be loaded at the port then sail into Spencer Gulf’s deeper water to unload onto larger, capesize vessels, which have a capacity of approximately 175,000 t.

The company expects to begin operations within two years, which will lead to the return of commercial shipping to Port Augusta for the first time in almost half a century.

The retention of key infrastructure at the site, including a 5 km rail loop and unloading systems, made the 1,068-ha site an attractive proposition for CU-River, according to External Affairs Manager, Shelaye Boothey.

“CU-River has a strong project pipeline and an ambitious growth strategy that will see it headquartered in South Australia for decades to come. The purchase of the site is a significant, strategic decision that allows CU-River to secure a direct export pathway for the 15 Mt of high-grade iron ore magnetite it plans to mine each year from 2026.

“However, it is our intention to develop the port as a multi-user facility, providing Spencer Gulf and far-north industry with further export opportunities.”

The significant size of the site means there is considerable scope for the land to be further developed for a number of commercial uses, according to Boothey.

“We will be examining the feasibility of constructing a large-scale solar farm,” she said. “However, we will be exploring every option to ensure the site’s commercial potential is maximised. Further development of the site will result in more jobs for Port Augusta, making this an exciting prospect.”

The power station ceased generation in May 2016. Since that time, Flinders Power has been responsible for the decommissioning and demolition of the power station and rehabilitation of the site. It is expected the sale of the site will be finalised in early April 2019, once remediation is complete.

CU-River plans to continue with the Community Reference Group (CRG) established by Flinders Power after it acquires the site. This will provide key stakeholders the opportunity to work collaboratively with CU-River and provide an opportunity to contribute to the future planning of the site, according to the company.

CU-River Mining aims to be an important partner to the South Australia Government by helping achieve its Magnetite Strategy goal of producing 50 Mt/y by 2030. It holds four exploration licences covering approximately 3,000 km² in broadly the same vicinity as Cairn Hill (which has a 3 Mt/y capacity). Once these resources are brought into production our goal is to produce 15 Mt/y of magnetite concentrate.

Established in 2014, the company purchased the existing Cairn Hill iron ore mine, 55 km southeast of Coober Pedy. After an extensive A$20 million upgrade, CU-River started mining in 2016,  producing and exporting 1 Mt of magnetite ore in its first 12 months of operation. Production ceased in late 2017, but the company plans to recommence mining in the middle of this year.

LKAB takes to the skies to find new orebodies around Kiruna

LKAB, in tandem with representatives from the University of Münster (Germany) and Luleå University of Technology, LTU (Sweden), recently flew a helicopter-borne survey system, around 90 m above the ground, around its Kiruna area in northern Sweden.

The process works where a helicopter flies past 90 m above the ground with a survey instrument in tow. During a week in October, the helicopter flew in the Luossavaara area near Kurravaaravägen in and around the Varggropen/Nukutus outdoor leisure area and Lake Tuollujärvi.

LKAB said: “The method is unique and was conducted as a research study – one that can help safeguard LKAB’s future.”

The area surveyed was around 40 km², but two weeks preparation was necessary before flying could begin. First, a 2 km cable was laid out in various places in the terrain. Iron digging bars for conducting electrical current into the earth were attached to each end of the cable.

Niklas Juhojuntti, Geophysicist at LKAB, said: “It creates an electromagnetic wave that emits a signal that penetrates the ground. The signal is captured by sensors in the survey instrument suspended beneath the aircraft.”

Based on the aircraft test results, the project group in Germany will put together a 3D model which could reach down to a depth of around 1 km. The survey results will show if there are any electrical conductors, which could indicate the presence of an orebody.

“If this is the case, we will have to drill to find out more precisely what it is. Magnetite is a great conductor,” says Juhojuntti.

LKAB anticipates the results from the aerial survey in January or February 2019 at the earliest. Scientists from LTU will also compile the results from surveys carried out on the surface.

“By piecing together all of the results, we can gain a better picture. From what we’ve seen so far, all the survey data looks good and provided a clear signal,” says Juhojuntti.

LKAB took responsibility for certain parts of the logistics in Kiruna, but the research project paid for the surveys.

“They wanted to demonstrate that there survey methods work, and now they’ve been able to fly in an area where we know mineralisation is present,” Juhojuntti said.

“In Germany, it’s not as easy to find areas like this, and nor is everyone there quite as well disposed toward this method. They were extremely pleased with the Kiruna residents, who left their equipment well alone. They enjoyed a great reception by the people out in the field.”

The results from the flights can help LKAB in its hunt for new orebodies and create a more secure future, the company says.

“I’m hoping this method will allow us to detect any indications concerning unknown major orebodies at depth. We still haven’t done much work at depth north of Nukutus,” Juhojuntti says.