Tag Archives: Worley

Worley receives PM & EPCM work at Anglo American’s Woodsmith mine

Engineering firm Worley has been awarded a contract for program management services and engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) to support Anglo American’s Woodsmith project in the UK, the mining company has confirmed.

Worley, in tandem with other contractors, is being tasked with delivering a polyhalite mine for its client Anglo American.

The project includes the sinking of production and service shafts with 6.75-m diameters – having depths of 1,594 m and 1,565 m, respectively – and a 37-km-long concrete-lined tunnel containing a conveyor belt, which transports the polyhalite ore from Woodsmith mine, near Whitby, to the Mineral Handling Facility, on Teesside, for processing and shipping.

In Anglo American’s half-year results, released earlier this year, the company outlined that major critical path components had continued to progress to its updated plan at Woodsmith.

“[Our] ongoing technical review confirmed there are several improvements to modify design to bring it up to Anglo American’s safety and operating integrity standards and optimise value for the long term,” it said.

The company acquired Woodsmith when it took over Sirius Minerals in 2020.

IMARC panel tackles decarbonisation need and rising power costs dilemma

The second day of the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), in Sydney, Australia, has put a spotlight on the industry’s response to ESG and energy transition.

The keynote address was a panel discussion focusing on energy transition and decarbonisation. The panel was made up of global heavyweights from the energy, mining, infrastructure and digital sectors.

Setting the scene, David Solsky, Vice President Sustainability Software Solutions at IBM, said: “We are on the verge of the biggest transformation of the global economy in a century.”

Sarah Barker, Head of Climate Risk Governance at Minter Ellison, added to this, saying: “What is certain is that the energy transition is going to happen. What is unknown is when or how. We do know, however, transitions are not linear; they tend to be bumpy.”

Talking to the mammoth task ahead, Sue Brown, Executive Group Director Sustainability at Worley, said: “The scale of investment needed in energy infrastructure alone will need to increase four or five times every year for the next 20 to 30 years.”

However, the transition comes with risk warns Michael van Maanen, Executive General Manager, Corporate, Government and Community at Whitehaven Coal. Maanen understands the social and economic imperative of transitioning to green and renewable energy but believes the transition must not come at the expense of exponentially higher power prices.

“Investors are accelerating the transition much faster than customers can bear and that’s problematic,” he said.

Eng. Suliman Bin Khaled Almazroua, CEO of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program, explained how Saudi Arabia is tackling energy costs amid their rapid transition to renewable and green energy.

“We have added sustainability to our equation when determining risk in new projects,” he said. “What we have found is that by doing that we are creating long-term value for companies who want to invest new projects.”

Over the three-day conference from November 2-4, delegates at IMARC have discussed how to best approach energy transition and the need to decarbonise, using the forum to determine global best practices and to explore new technologies that can with the transition.

International Mining is a media sponsor of IMARC

Shell Consortium previews Charge On haul truck electrification solution

Shell has become the latest Charge On Innovation Challenge winner to unveil details about its electric haul truck charging solution, outlining how its consortium of partners intend to combine an end-to-end and interoperable electrification system that reduces emissions without compromising on efficiency or safety, while aiming to be cost competitive versus diesel-powered operation.

The Charge On Innovation Challenge was launched in 2021 and invited vendors and technology innovators from around the world and across industries to collaborate with the mining industry to present novel electric truck charging solutions. The challenge received interest from over 350 companies across 19 industries, with more than 80 companies submitting expressions of interest. Twenty-one companies were then invited to present a detailed pitch of their solution, with the final eight – which included the Shell Consortium – chosen to progress from these 21.

The global challenge, launched by BHP, Rio Tinto and Vale, sought to accelerate commercialisation of effective solutions for charging large electric haul trucks while simultaneously demonstrating there is an emerging market for these solutions in mining.

The Charge On Innovation Challenge requested international solution providers to put forward charging concepts that are:

  • Designed with safety as the number one priority, using inherent defensive design and future-proof principles;
  • Able to supply a battery for 220-t payload electric haul trucks;
  • Capable of supplying 400 kW hours of electricity to a truck during each haul cycle;
  • Able to provide battery charging, or both propulsion and battery charging;
  • Cost effective, minimising complexity without reducing productivity; and
  • Interoperable, allowing different haul truck manufacturers to utilise the same charging infrastructure.

On a media call this week, Shell highlighted how its consortium of nine partners was working on a solution that could not only meet this brief, but also provide a commercial offering to electrify mining and other industries.

Skeleton, Microvast, Stäubli, Carnegie Robotics, Heliox, Spirae, Alliance Automation, Worley and Shell have come together to introduce Shell’s mining electrification solutions for off-road vehicles. This consists of:

  • Power provisioning and microgrids, with the aim to provide a consistent and reliable supply of renewable power in a safe and stable manner;
  • Ultra-fast charging whereby an approximate 90-second charge via flexible, hardwearing and resilient, on-site, ultrafast charge-points can provide assets with continuous operation of some 20-30 minutes depending on the haulage profile; and
  • In-vehicle energy storage: through a combination of advanced battery and capacitor technologies that aim to deliver long lifetimes, ultra-fast charging and high performance.

Some of the key components of the power provision and energy management solution come from Alliance Automation, a multi-disciplined industrial automation and electrical engineering company; Spirae, a technology company that develops solutions for integrating renewable and distributed energy resources within microgrids and power systems for economic optimisation, resiliency enhancement and decarbonisation; Worley, an engineering company that provides project delivery and consulting services to the resources and energy sectors, and complex process industries; and Shell Energy, which provides innovative, reliable and cleaner energy solutions through a portfolio of gas, power, environmental products and energy efficiency offers to businesses and residential customers.

The ultra-fast charging element involves solutions from Carnegie Robotics, a provider of rugged sensors, autonomy software and platforms for defence, agriculture, mining, marine, warehouse and energy applications; Heliox, a leader in fast charging systems within public transport, e-trucks, marine, mining and port equipment; and Stäubli, a global industrial and mechatronic solution provider with four dedicated divisions: electrical connectors, fluid connectors, robotics and textile.

Finally, Skeleton, a global technology leader in fast energy storage for automotive, transportation, grid and industrial applications, and Microvast, a leader in the design, development and manufacture of battery solutions for mobile and stationary applications, are in charge of the in-vehicle energy storage side of things.

As a result of this collaboration, mining operators, Shell says, are set to benefit from an integrated electrification solution that:

  • Is end-to-end, covering the full journey of the electron from generation to delivery in the drivetrain;
  • Is interoperable between different original equipment manufacturer make and models, giving mining operators greater flexibility;
  • Is modular in design to allow mining customers the opportunity to tailor solutions to their specific needs; and
  • Reduces emissions without compromising on operational efficiency or safety.

Sebastian Pohlmann, Skeleton Technologies’ Vice President Automotive & Business Development, revealed more details about the plans for the in-vehicle energy storage part of the equation, confirming that the fast energy storage solution set to be fitted on these 220-t payload haul trucks would leverage its SuperBattery.

The SuperBattery, Pohlmann said, offers a 100 times faster charging option compared with standard lithium-ion batteries, while also being free of cobalt, nickel, graphite and copper materials. He also mentioned that a SuperBattery-equipped haul truck could, in the right situation, offer higher utilisation than its diesel-powered equivalent.

The SuperBattery is due to start production in 2024, with Pohlmann saying the battery lined up for a prototype system as part of the Shell Consortium would weigh in at just over 12 tonnes. He also highlighted the potential for other applications in mining outside of 220 t haul trucks with this platform.

The ultra-fast charging solution that the consortium partners were working on assumed a peak power delivery of 24 MW, Pohlmann said, explaining that the charge points would be positioned around areas where haul trucks normally come to a stop – during dumping or loading, for instance – meaning charging would not interrupt the haul cycle and ensure high utilisation of the truck at all times.

With such a high power draw envisaged by the partners, Grischa Sauerberg, Vice President, Sectoral Decarbonisation & Innovation at Shell, explained that a stationary power element – renewable energy and battery storage – may also be provided if the grid power available cannot support such a peak draw.

The commercial offering from the partners is expected in 2025, however Sauerberg confirmed a pilot solution was set to be tested at a Shell facility in Hamburg, Germany, next year, followed by final field trials at selected mine sites in 2024.

Worley to help build UK’s first large-scale merchant lithium refinery

Worley says it will begin supporting Green Lithium in building the UK’s first large-scale merchant lithium refinery, which will create a supply of low-carbon, battery-grade lithium chemicals to help meet Europe’s growing demand.

By enabling cathode, battery cell and electric vehicle manufacturing, it will facilitate decarbonisation objectives, green jobs and long-term economic prosperity, according to Worley.

The refinery will have the capacity to produce 50,000 t/y of battery-grade lithium – meeting 6% percent of Europe’s anticipated battery demand by 2030, according to estimates. This is enough to help produce one million electric vehicles annually.

Worley will provide engineering services for front-end loading of various supporting components of the plant’s technology system. This will involve developing the balance of engineering, supporting critical planning, and permitting activities, general constructability, and developing philosophy documents for controls systems and automation.

Ross McPherson, Senior Vice President, Chemicals, Fuels and Resources, EMEA, Worley, said: “Current lithium refining capacity in Europe doesn’t match the increasing demand for battery-grade lithium chemicals, which is projected to grow to 800,000 t by 2030. So, this project is a step towards meeting demand and accelerating local lithium production.”

Sean Sargent, CEO, Green Lithium, added: “Green Lithium is enabling our planet’s transition to sustainable energy by increasing the supply of low-carbon lithium chemicals to meet increased global demand. There is currently no lithium refining capability in Europe. Without localised supply, the automotive and battery manufacturing sectors in the UK and EU will fail.

“Critically, Green Lithium will use a world-leading, sustainable, and low-carbon refining process, which has an 80% lower carbon footprint than traditional refineries in existing markets.

“We have assembled an exceptional team, driving toward commissioning our refinery in 2025, and we are pleased to be working with Worley as an important delivery partner.”

Worley acquires Minera Mining Technologies, expands automation and decarbonisation offering

Worley says it has acquired Minera Mining Technologies, a global technical solutions provider to the mining, minerals and metals industry, furthering its ability to automate and decarbonise mining operations.

Adding Minera to its existing Technology and Expert Solutions team will strengthen the company’s role in the energy transition and bring greater depth to the roadmaps needed to achieve sustainable mining solutions, according to Worley.

“The acquisition of Minera aligns with Worley’s purpose of delivering a more sustainable world, and its aspiration to achieve 75% of its revenue from sustainability-related business within five years,” Nick Bell, Global Sector Lead, Resources, said.

Headquartered in Western Australia, Minera’s mining, geological and technical consultants work with mine owners to automate and decarbonise by determining the best-fit technology solutions and strategies for their assets. The pairing provides enhanced front-end solutions covering automation, fleet decarbonisation/electrification and operational benefits realisation, Worley noted.

Bell added: “The world needs more mining. But performance and production improvements are required as the energy transition and ESG pressure calls for sustainable materials delivered at pace. To meet these demands, the industry needs the right partner to identify and adopt new and emerging technologies, often within an operating environment. The acquisition of Minera means we can do just that for our customers all over the world.”

Martin Boulton, Director of Minera, added: “Automation will remain a puzzle unless miners develop horizons that plan the practical application across their assets. With the introduction of Minera, Worley can create autonomous business plans to help our customers define their target technology landscape, along with the delivery capabilities to achieve this operational state. We will also continue development of our autonomous skills training to grow industry capability and ensure solutions are implemented safely and on time.”

Miners need flexible solutions to meet decarbonisation goals, Worley’s Russell says

The unique challenges the mining industry will face over its 30-year journey to decarbonisation are still being unpacked as it decides how to use enabling technologies and solutions, according to Nicholas Russell, Senior Mechanical & Mining Engineer at Worley.

“The journey to net-zero requires flexibility,” he said. “And we need to incorporate that flexibility from the very beginning.”

This, according to Russell, has seen an increased focus on collaborative solutions across the mining value chain, including the re-emergence of 70-year-old technology.

In-pit crushing and conveying (IPCC) works by crushing ore and waste material in an open-pit and using conveyors to transport the material to the process plant and waste dumps respectively.

While IPCC is not new, miners often associate it with rigid, inflexible mine plans that struggle to meet changing market demands, he said. “However, an IPCC system is no longer just a fixed asset. Flexibility and sustainability in operations is possible through design innovation, tailored equipment specification and automation.”

One of the new ways that IPCC can be implemented is by using a combination of relocatable and mobile conveyors in tandem with a mobile, truckless system. This sees a shovel dumps material into a moveable sizing rig that loads the automated conveyor fleet.

“Much like irrigation sprinkler machines, the system operates in parallel, or pivot, and a combination of different length hoses and pipes connect it back to a fixed point, which in this case is the process plant,” Russell said. “By increasing the reach of the system, multiple combinations of bench level, mine direction and pass widths can be considered and optimised.”

In one study, an overburden truck fleet that moved material from the mine face to the top of the in-pit dump was replaced with an IPCC system. The haulage energy was reduced by 63% and 3.5 Olympic swimming pools of diesel each year could be replaced with renewables for each shovel swapped over, according to Russell.

Providing flexibility for minimum viable projects

Alternatively, as the mine face moves, a relocatable IPCC system can move with it.

“Trucks powered by renewables complete small distances to a crusher which is moved periodically, with conveyors used for the rest of the journey to the plant,” Russell explained. “While both options give the flexibility to change mining locations, this option provides the energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness of conveyors while benefiting from the flexibility of a truck system.”

Flexibility is especially useful for miners establishing sites with “minimum viable capital”, according to Russell.

“Miners can start with a small truck fleet and minimum fixed plant, relocating the crusher and conveyor as and when required,” he explained. “This is a key advantage because it helps achieve project specific goals through different mine sequences to enhance an operation’s sustainability.”

Powering mines with renewable energy

Powered by electricity ‘from the grid’, IPCC can be an energy efficient option for miners. It gives miners the flexibility to choose renewables to power their site, including the energy used for the mass material movement from the mine face to the process plant and waste dump.

Worley and its consulting business, Advisian, has helped a number of mining companies assess and develop green energy supply partnerships, Russell explained.

This has included the analysis, assessment and guided procurement of Gold Fields’ Agnew Hybrid Renewable Energy Microgrid, which included 18 MW wind, 4 MW solar, 13 MW/4 MWh battery and 21 MW gas/diesel. As the largest hybrid renewable energy microgrid in Australia, it has the capacity to provide the mine with up to 85% renewable energy, with reliability in excess of 99.99%, Worley said.

Enhancing an IPCC system with bulk ore sorting technology

Nicholas Russell, Senior Mechanical & Mining Engineer at Worley

“As miners seek to get more from less, IPCC can be enhanced with ore sorting mineral sensing technology supplied by NextOre,” Russell said.

NextOre, a joint venture between the CSIRO, RFC Ambrian and Worley, is a bulk ore sorting technology that allows miners to sort and evaluate ore at high capacity, maximising recovery and delivering higher grade and lower tonnage mill feed, he explained.

“It can be easily retrofitted to IPCC conveyors, and measure everything on the belt,” he added. “The option also exists to increase grade while maintaining throughput on existing systems, maximising metal recovery through the entire system assuming upstream and downstream facilities can be de-bottlenecked.”

By improving sorting efficiency, and processing a better material grade, water and electricity consumption per tonne of ore mined is reduced, while the data from the sorting process can be used to learn more about what is coming out of the ground as it’s mined, with assumptions verified in real time.

IPCC in action

One of the world’s largest iron ore mines in Brazil, S11D (pictured, photo courtesy of Vale), is a notable example of how new IPCC technology is enhancing sustainability and protecting people and the environment.

For this project, Worley proposed a truckless mine – “the first of its kind”, Russell said.

The system uses mobile crushers and conveyor belts to replace traditional trucks, consequently reducing diesel consumption by approximately 70%, according to mine owner Vale. The system also allows the miner to process waste in existing industrial areas, moving it away from environmentally sensitive ones to further reduce the project’s environmental impact.

“In designing the project, the team’s biggest challenge was not only rethinking the mine plan and how the technology could be used on the site, but also re-evaluating the role people play in executing the concept,” Russell said. “It’s critical to re-educate technicians and engineers to equip them with the skills needed to work with these technologies safely.”

Russell believes technologies like IPCC will help miners meet their decarbonisation commitments, however no individual technology can solve the challenge.

“To focus solely on the benefits of the equipment and disregard the mine demands is a short-term solution to a long-term challenge,” he said. “If miners are to meet sustainability goals, they need flexibility, collaboration and a holistic approach to implementing new technology that starts at the mine plan.”

Nick Russell is due to speak at IM Event’s IPCC 2022 event in Mexico, on April 28-29, 2022, presenting a paper titled: ‘Fully mobile IPCC/truckless mining: lessons learnt’. Click here for more information on the event.

Syrah contracts Worley for anode material facility expansion

Syrah Resources has awarded Worley Group with a contract to provide detailed engineering and procurement services for the initial expansion of production capacity at its “Active Anode Material” (AAM) facility in Vidalia, USA.

Worley, working with the Syrah project team, will undertake the detailed engineering and procurement for the planned 10,000 t/y AAM facility. These services have commenced and are being delivered by Worley’s US Gulf Coast team based in Louisiana.

“Worley is well positioned to maintain continuity through the next phase of Vidalia’s expansion due to its significant knowledge of Vidalia’s processing technologies and key equipment packages and integration with the Syrah project team,” Syrah said.

The two have worked through the previous project phases for the planned expansion of production capacity at Vidalia, including the bankable feasibility study, front-end engineering and design and interim detailed engineering. Worley also carried out engineering, procurement and construction services for the integrated and commercial scale facility at Vidalia.

Syrah plans to award contracts for construction management of the AAM facility prior to making a final investment decision for the expanded plant. This is planned during the second half of 2021.

Syrah operates the Balama graphite mine in Mozambique along with the downstream AAM facility in the US.

NextOre’s magnetic resonance tech up and running at First Quantum’s Kansanshi

Australia-based NextOre is onto another ore sorting assignment with its magnetic resonance (MR) sensing technology, this time in Zambia at First Quantum Minerals’ Kansanshi copper mine.

NextOre was originally formed in 2017 as a joint venture between CSIRO, RFC Ambrian and Worley, with its MR technology representing a leap forward in mineral sensing that provides accurate, whole-of-sample grade measurements, it says.

Demonstrated at mining rates of 4,300 t/h, per conveyor belt, the technology comes with no material preparation requirement and provides grade estimates in seconds, NextOre claims. This helps deliver run of mine grade readings in seconds, providing “complete transparency” for tracking downstream processing and allowing operations to selectively reject waste material.

Having initially successfully tested its magnetic resonance analysers (MRAs) at Newcrest’s Cadia East mine in New South Wales, Australia, the company has gone onto test and trial the innovation across the Americas and Asia.

More recently, it set up camp in Africa at First Quantum Minerals’ Kansanshi copper mine where it is hoping to show off the benefits of the technology in a trial.

The MRA in question was installed in January on the sulphide circuit’s 2,800 t/h primary crushed conveyor at Kansanshi, with the installation carried out with remote assistance due to COVID-19 restrictions on site.

Anthony Mukutuma, General Manager at First Quantum’s Kansanshi Mine in the Northwestern Province of Zambia, said the operation was exploring the use of MRAs for online ore grade analysis and subsequent possible sorting to mitigate the impacts of mining a complex vein-type orebody with highly variating grades.

“The installation on the 2,800 t/h conveyor is a trial to test the efficacy of the technology and consider engineering options for physical sorting of ore prior to milling,” he told IM.

Chris Beal, NextOre CEO, echoed Mukutuma’s words on grade variation, saying daily average grades at Kansanshi were on par with what the company might see in a bulk underground mine, but when NextOre looked at each individual measurement – with each four seconds representing about 2.5 t – it was seeing some “higher grades worthy of further investigation”.

“The local geology gives it excellent characteristics for the application of very fast measurements for bulk ore sorting,” he told IM.

Mukutuma said the initial aim of the trial – to validate the accuracy and precision of the MRA scanner – was progressing to plan.

“The next phase of the project is to determine options for the MRA scanner to add value to the overall front end of processing,” he said.

Beal was keen to point out that the MRA scanner setup at Kansanshi was not that much different to the others NextOre had operating – with the analyser still measuring copper in the chalcopyrite mineral phase – but the remote installation process was very different.

“Despite being carried out remotely, this installation went smoother than even some where we had a significant on-site presence,” he said. “A great deal of that smoothness can be attributed to the high competency of the Kansanshi team. Of course, our own team, including the sensing and sorting team at CSIRO, put in a huge effort to quickly pivot from the standard installation process, and also deserve a great deal of credit.”

Beal said the Kansanshi team were supplied with all the conventional technical details one would expect – mechanical drawings, assembly drawings, comprehensive commissioning instructions and animations showing assembly.

To complement that, the NextOre team made use of both the in-built remote diagnostic systems standard in each MRA and several remote scientific instruments, plus a Trimble XR10 HoloLens “mixed-reality solution” that, according to Trimble, helps workers visualise 3D data on project sites.

“The NextOre and CSIRO teams were on-line on video calls with the Kansanshi teams each day supervising the installation, monitoring the outputs of the analyser and providing supervision in real time,” Beal said. He said the Kansanshi team had the unit installed comfortably within the planned 12-hour shutdown window.

By the second week of February the analyser had more than 90% availability, Beal said in early April.

He concluded on the Kansanshi installation: “There is no question that we will use the remote systems developed during this project in each project going ahead, but, when it is at all possible, we will always have NextOre representatives on site during the installation process. This installation went very smoothly but we cannot always count on that being the case. And there are other benefits to having someone on site that you just cannot get without being there.

“That said, in the future, we expect that a relatively higher proportion of support and supervision can be done through these remote systems. More than anything, this will allow us to more quickly respond to events on site and to keep the equipment working reliably.”

Worley to take Neo Lithium’s 3Q brine project into DFS stage

Neo Lithium Corp and its Argentinean subsidiary LIEX SA have engaged Worley Chile and Worley Argentina to complete a definitive feasibility study (DFS) of its flagship 3Q lithium brine project in Catamarca, Argentina.

The development strategy for 3Q focuses on production of 20,000 t/y of lithium carbonate with the flexibility to expand production to 40,000 t/y after phase one is completed and operational. The DFS is scheduled for completion in the September quarter of 2021.

Gabriel Pindar, COO of Neo Lithium Corp, said: “On the back of CATL’s investment and involvement, we are very pleased to have engaged and be working with Worley who bring a wealth of lithium knowledge and experience to our 3Q project. Worley is a leading global engineering firm and has been involved in all aspects of lithium brine operations which will be invaluable in executing our DFS.”

Results of the last prefeasibility study (PFS) on 3Q performed by GHD Chile SA and Groundwater Insight Inc outlined a project with 20,000 t/y of lithium carbonate production potential with after-tax net present value (8% discount rate) of $1.143 billion, internal rate of return of 49.9%, and capital expenditure of $318.9 million.

Neo Lithium said the studies carried out by the company in its evaporation pilot plant at the salar site and the lithium carbonate pilot plant in the town of Fiambalá confirm that the general parameters defined in the PFS will be validated in the DFS.

Neo Lithium has been operating pilot evaporation ponds for more than three years, while the pilot lithium carbonate plant has been in operation for nearly two years. This has resulted in a meaningful ramp up in knowledge while improving the process all the way through to validate the PFS and take the project more efficiently into DFS with a view towards future construction, it said.

“As a result of our efforts to maintain steady operations at pilot scale level, we continue to produce our own lithium brine concentrate and lithium carbonate on a regular basis, and believe that we are on track towards our goal of being in production by the later stages of 2023,” the company added.

Rio flying high at technologically advanced Gudai-Darri iron ore project

Western Australia’s newest airport has opened at Rio Tinto’s $2.6 billion Gudai-Darri (formerly known as Koodaideri) iron ore project in the Pilbara where construction is progressing ahead of expected production ramp-up in early 2022.

The facility can accept a range of different aircraft including Boeing 737s, A320s, F100s and King Airs. The current flight schedule includes four flights a week with additional flights expected to be added to the schedule next year. The airport is expected to handle more than 600 workers in a day at peak operating times, according to Rio.

The airport will deliver significant benefits in terms of minimising employee interaction with vehicles and driving, as well as helping to manage employee fatigue thanks to a significant reduction in travel time from an alternate regional airport, Rio says. The airport will also provide a safer landing option for Rio Tinto’s long-standing partner, the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Rio Tinto Projects General Manager, Gudai-Darri, Anthony Radici, said: “You get a real sense of the immense size and scale of our Gudai-Darri operation once you fly into this new airport.

“The construction phase of the project is progressing well with a significant amount of infrastructure at the mine now built, millions of cubic metres of material moved, a new access road, a significant amount of the rail formation installed, two new bridges constructed and now a brand new airport.”

Rio Tinto Iron Ore Acting Chief Executive, Ivan Vella, said: “The construction phase of Gudai-Darri, our most technologically advanced mine, has a strong focus on supporting local businesses with contracts valued at more than $2.3 billion awarded to date.

“These contracts have supported approximately 2,000 jobs in the construction phase and the mining operation is expected to support about 600 jobs on an ongoing basis. We are proud to support West Australian businesses as we progress a pipeline of investment opportunities in the Pilbara valued at more than A$10 billion ($7.3 billion) over the three years to 2022.”

Contracts at Gudai-Darri valued at more than $2.3 billion have been awarded to local Pilbara, Pilbara Aboriginal and West Australian Businesses including Primero Group, NRW, DTMT, Pindan, White Springs, Hicks Civil & Mining and Karratha Earthmoving & Sand Supplies.

The full construction and design of the airport will be completed by local partners Primero Group, NRW, Worley and GHD, together with NRW subcontractors Colas, Fulton Hogan, TEC services, Brookdale Contractors, Bennco and Karlka Fencewright.

Gudai-Darri is a greenfield mine development, around 35 km northwest of the Yandicoogina mine in the East Pilbara mining region. The mine will initially be developed as a nominal 43 Mt/y high-grade, dry processing operation.