BHP Billiton has taken a major step in substantially increasing its Pilbara iron ore production with the completion of its Newman Mining Hub.
The company yesterday officially opened the Hub, which will be the centre of the company’s mining, crushing and screening activities in the Eastern Pilbara.
The new operation marks the effective completion of BHP’s $US1.85 billion Rapid Growth Project 4 (RGP4), which was designed to boost its Pilbara production by 26 million tonnes a year to 155mtpa.
The additional capacity associated with RGP4 will be ramped up during 2010, BHP said.
The Newman Hub will crush and screen ore from the company’s Mt Whaleback and satellite pits in the Newman area, which will remove the need for individual processing plants.
“The commissioning of the Newman Mining Hub marks the beginning of an exciting time for our business, with one of our largest expansion projects nearing completion,” BHP iron ore president Ian Ashby said.
“The further integration of our mine, rail and port facilities will ensure greater efficiency in production across our Western Australia iron ore business.”
The new hub is a key component of BHP’s longer-term ambition to boost iron ore production to 300mtpa by 2015 and is designed to consolidate processing activities at the mine site and reduce ore handling at Port Hedland.