Mount Gibson overcomes Cyclone Blake at Koolan Island

Mount Gibson Iron is on track to meet its iron ore production targets despite Tropical Cyclone Blake interrupting operations during January.

The company sold 1.4 million wet metric tonnes of iron ore during the December 2019 quarter to hit $106 million in quarterly sales revenue.

The Koolan Island mine off the Kimberley coast in Western Australia moved a total of four million wet metric tonnes of material during the quarter, an 11 per cent increase over the prior quarter.

In early January the mine experienced extreme weather conditions from Tropical Cyclone Blake, with more than 330 millimetres of rain over a three-day period.

The cyclone resulted in water accumulating in the Koolan Island main pit and temporarily suspended operations.

“Although cyclone-related heavy rainfall has interrupted mining operations at Koolan Island, a degree of wet season interruption is factored into long-range planning,” Mount Gibson chief executive officer Peter Kerr explained.

“Ore sales guidance for Koolan Island remains unchanged for the current financial year (and) Mount Gibson is well placed to deliver on its production targets and benefit from continued positive iron ore market conditions.”

Shipping was also suspended at Koolan Island during October, due to a tear in the conveyor belt which required replacing, causing two 2020 shipments to be deferred.

Mount Gibson has started preparation for the construction of a 2.1-kilometre sealed airstrip at Koolan Island, to replace the current airstrip which only supports small charter aircraft, subject to weather conditions.

The new airstrip will be able to support commercial aircraft from Perth, reducing Perth-based workers’ transit times, helping to reduce fatigue and improve employment conditions.

Mount Gibson estimates the airstrip will cost approximately $20 million and construction is targeted to be finished by the end of the September 2020 quarter.

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