Fortescue Metals has shipped its first instalment of high-grade magnetite from its Iron Bridge operations in WA.
It follows first production earlier this year which saw the plant surpass expectations with a first run grade of greater than 67 per cent iron.
The wet concentrate was transported from the mine through 135km slurry pipeline to Port Hedland. There it was dewatered, transforming it into a high-grade magnetite product ready for shipping to Vietnam.
Fortescue chief executive officer Fiona Hick joined Nyamal Traditional Custodians in Port Hedland as the first shipment was loaded.
“Today is a truly special day for Fortescue. Last week we celebrated 20 years since Fortescue was founded, and today, we celebrate our first shipment of high-grade magnetite product from our most complex and innovative project yet,” Hick said.
“Iron Bridge is a game changer for Fortescue and builds on our track record of safely and successfully developing and operating iron ore projects in the Pilbara.
“High grade magnetite product will play an important role in lowering emissions in the steel industry, and Fortescue is moving at pace to ensure we are at the forefront of developing green steel technologies.”
Using magnetite in steel making has a lower overall carbon emissions than alternatives.
Magnetite projects are typically lengthy and complicated – sometimes failing to meet a certain grade – but after project delays and cost blowouts, Iron Bridge delivered above its target.
The mine is expected to produce 22 million tonnes per annum of high-grade magnetite concentrate.
Fortescue made headlines this month after executive chairman and major shareholder Andrew Forrest separated from his wife, Nicola Forrest.
The Forrests represent Fortescue’s largest shareholder, owning an almost 37 per cent stake in the company primarily through their private investment company Tattarang.
But the Forrests’ have assured that the development will not impact their mutual business interests.
“There is no influence on the operations, control or direction of Fortescue, Minderoo or Tattarang,” they said in a statement.