Mount Gibson restarts Koolan Island shipments to China

The MV S'Hail Al Mafyar being loaded with high grade direct shipping hematite iron ore fines from Koolan Island. Image: Mount Gibson Iron

Mount Gibson Iron has launched sales of high grade iron ore from its Koolan Island restart operation in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

The loading of the 72,000 wet metric tonnes of hematite iron ore cargo onto the bulk carrier was today almost complete ahead of the vessel’s scheduled departure from Koolan Island.

This first shipment follows two years of redevelopment and refurbishment work at the Koolan Island site following extensive flood damage in 2014.

Mount Gibson has invested in a seawall construction, pit dewatering, footwall rehabilitation, pre-production waste mining and the recruitment and mobilisation of over 300 employees and contractors.

Its resumption of iron ore sales is considered a key milestone for Koolan Island, establishing Mount Gibson as Australia’s highest grade exporter of direct shipping hematite iron, the company said in an ASX statement.

This is based on Mount Gibson’s ore reserves in the Koolan main pit of 21 million tonnes grading 65.5 per cent iron, scheduled to be mined over the next 5.5 years.

Mount Gibson has projected its ore sales to range between 700,000 and one million wet metric tonnes in the 2019 financial year.

“It is very satisfying to bring the unique high-grade Koolan Island mine back into production after more than two years of dedicated effort by the Mount Gibson team,” chief executive Peter Kerr said.

“This high grade and quality of Koolan Island’s direct shipping hematite iron ore products means that they are well suited to China’s increasing focus on steel manufacturing productivity and environmental impacts, and will provide Mount Gibson with a solid platform from which to generate value well into the next decade.”

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