BHP's Board has approved a US$2.9 billion (approximately A$3.9 billion) investment towards the development of the South Flank iron ore project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, which is projected to generate more than 3,000 jobs for the region.
“The project will create around 2,500 construction jobs, more than 600 ongoing operational roles and generate many opportunities for Western Australia suppliers,” BHP President Operations, Minerals Australia Mike Henry said.
South Flank is projected to cost $4.7 billion to develop. The project is going to fully replace production from the 80Mtpa Yandi mine that’s nearing the end of its economic life.
The South Flank development will be expanding BHP’s existing infrastructure at Mining Area C - located 92 kilometres west north-west of Newman - and it will involve the construction of an 80Mtpa crushing and screening plant, an overland conveyor system, stockyard and train loading facilities as well as the sourcing of new mining fleet, substantial mine development and pre-strip works.
The mine is expected to have a mine life of more than 25 years, and BHP is aiming for first production in 2021. South Flank is projected to be BHP’s single largest annual production iron ore mine to be developed.
“It will enhance the average quality of BHP’s Western Australia Iron ore (WAIO) production and will allow us to benefit from price premiums for higher-quality lump and fines products,” Mr Henry said.
BHP has committed an initial US$184 million in June 2017 towards the expansion of accommodation facilities that will support the existing and future workforce requirements.
“The investment is welcome news for Western Australia, and yet another sign that the economy is turning the corner and jobs are being created for Western Australians,” Premier Mark McGowan said.
Depending on State Government approvals, major construction on the multi-billion dollar South Flank project is expected to commence next month.
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