Hancock Prospecting subsidiary Atlas Iron has announced its Miralga Creek iron ore mine in Western Australia has achieved first ore earlier than expected.
Miralga Creek is an extension of the Abydos iron ore mine located approximately 100km south-east of Port Hedland and was expected to achieve first ore in April 2022.
Indigenous contractor East West Pilbara (EWP) is undertaking civil and construction works at the mine as well as being involved in ongoing operations.
EWP is a Nyamal-owned firm operating on Nyamal native title land and is in a joint venture mining contract with Ozland for the provision of load and haul, and drill and blast services from pit to run-of-mine.
“We are pleased to have reached this significant milestone with the first trucks leaving for port,” Atlas Iron chief executive officer Sanjiv Manchanda said.
“The EWP contract shows how commercial relationships can provide pathways for joint prosperity as they deliver value for both parties and are linked to a productive enterprise.”
This is a milestone in the evolution of Atlas Iron and increases the footprint to three mines, which include existing operations at Mount Weber and Sanjiv Ridge.
Like other companies in the resource sector, Atlas Iron has been dealing with the challenges of skilled labour shortages and uncertainty over Covid restrictions.
EWP is the first indigenous business in the Pilbara to be awarded such a valuable contract to conduct these specific mining services on their own native title lands.
Miralga Creek is expected to produce 8-million tonnes of iron ore over the three-to-four years lifetime of the mine.