Deposit locations included in the South Flank iron ore project in Western Australia. (Image: BHP Billiton)
AUSTRALIA – Last week the board of BHP Billiton approved an expenditure of US$2.9 billion for the South Flank iron ore project in the Central Pilbara region of Western Australia. BHP’s contribution reflects 85% of the project cost, which totals US$3.4 billion.
The South Flank project includes the Grand Central, Vista Oriental and Highway deposits. Together they will fully replace the 80 million t/y of ore that comes from the Yandi mine where reserves are almost exhausted. First ore from the South Flank project is targeted for 2021. Life of mine is expected to be 25 years.
The existing infrastructure at Mining Area C is to be expanded with construction of an 80 million t/y crushing and screening plant, an overland conveyor, storage, and train loading facilities. BHP also plans to buy a new open pit mining fleet. Substantial mine development and pre-stripping work are included in the cost.
The South Flank project encompasses mineral resources (including reserves) of 7.4 billion tonnes grading 60.2% iron. Click here to read the feasibility study.