​Fortescue increases Solomon Hub resource by a billion tonnes

Fortescue Metals has added 1.16 billion tonnes to its Greater Solomon Mineral Resource following an exploration program.

The Greater Solomon Area includes all the development within a 50 kilometre radius around the Solomon Operating Hub.

These deposits have been identified as the Serenity, Sheila Valley, Cerberus, Stingray, Raven, Mt MacLeod, and Queens Extension.

This brings the total resource at the site, which includes both the Firetail and Kings Valley mines, to more than 4.5 billion tonnes.

It comes as the miner plans to boost production by 35 % over the quarter.

FMG has recently reached a long-term ore production goal of 155 tonnes per year, thanks to completion of the Kings Valley project, however analysts are concerned about whether the new June targets can be met.

These new additional tonnes include bedded mineralisation in Brockman and Marra Mamba iron formations, channel iron deposits, and detrital iron deposits, and occur at both surface level and beneath alluvial cover, Fortescue said.

Fortescue has also increased its mineral resource inventory at its Eliwana-Flying Fish project, which was previously known as the Western hub.

This inferred resource is now estimated at 740 million tonnes, an increase of close to 20% on previous estimates.

The miner will carry out additional drilling over several small near surface targets along already identified targets on the Chichester Range up-dip, near existing pits.

The program will begin next month and will support already indicated mineral resource estimates.

As part of this wider work the miner is also carrying out a review of its Greater Chichester Area, in particular of its previously published mineral resources.

“It has been determined that, where feasible, the cut-off grades outside of the operation hubs should be consistent with cut-off grades within the hubs,” the miner said in a company statement.

“As a result, the Mt Nicholas estimate, originally announced in April 2004, has been removed from Fortescue’s Mineral Resource Inventory pending a detailed review,” it said.

“The estimate was reported using a cut-off grade lower than the cut-off currently applied to estimates in the Chichester operating hub.”

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