New study to open up Yilgarn iron ore province

Early studies by the Yilgarn Iron Producers Association into opening up the region have found infrastructure upgrades are key to unlocking the province.

According to YIPA's supply chain study "an initial modest Esperance Port and rail upgrade is the key to unlocking the potential of the Yilgarn".

The group has shared the information with Esperance Ports Sea and Land (EPSL) "and the implications are that a low capital and incremental upgrading of infrastructure can be used to cater for the stage on export of DSO material through the port".

It believes that constructing a massive port to service the region is the wrong way to go.

"Learning the lessons of Oakajee, a modestly priced Esperance Port upgrade of 10 to 15 million tonnes per annum capacity is the way forward along with incremental rail upgrades," a YIPA spokesperson said.

They went on to say a "stage two upgrade, with the construction of a second berth, could boost the total port potential above 50 mtpa and this could be reached over time through a number of environmentally sound sequential expansions".

The study was carried out by several Yilgarn iron ore miners and explorers, as well as an engineering firm.

These YIPA members include Golden West Resources, Radar Iron, Mindax, Legacy Iron Ore, Mineral Resources, Cazaly Resources, and Cliffs Natural Resources, which carried out the modelling infrastructure study.

To date Cliff exports around 11 mtpa through Esperance, with Mineral Resources pushing close to four mtpa through Kwinana and aiming to export more through Esperance.

YIPA is carrying out discussions with infrastructure providers, and further analyses are expected.

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