First sod has officially been turned on BHP's $4.9 billion South Flank iron ore mine in Western Australia's Pilbara region. BHP is targeting first ore production in 2021.
The production of the South Flank mine will fully replace production of BHP's 80 Mtpa Yandi mine, which is approaching the end of its economic life.
Given it will replace the Yandi mine, South Flank is also expected to produce 80 million tonnes of ore per year. This will be the largest annual production guidance of any mine developed by BHP.
The project will expand on existing infrastructure and will see the construction of an 80 Mtpa crushing and screening plant, an overland conveyor system, stockyard and train loading facilities. BHP will also me procuring a new mining fleet for the South Flank project.
BHP owns 85 per cent of this major Pilbara mine with Mitsui and ITOCHU owning the other 15 per cent.
The project is expected to create 3100 construction jobs in the region, 2500 of which will be construction roles while 600 will be operational roles.
Mike Henry, BHP's President Operations, Minerals Australia, has spoken about the significance of this mine.
“South Flank is a capital efficient project which offers attractive returns, and which was approved following a thorough evaluation under BHP’s Capital Allocation Framework,” he said.
“The project will create around 2,500 construction jobs, more than 600 ongoing operational roles and generate many opportunities for Western Australian suppliers. 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.”
Western Australian Premier, Mark McGowan, has spoken about the impact this mine will have on the region.
“This project is a positive injection into Western Australia in terms of improving business confidence and benefiting the State's economy,” he said.
“BHP’s decision, with its joint venture partners, to go ahead with the South Flank project is testimony that Western Australia is a secure and attractive place to invest.”
Source: BHP, Government of Western Australia