First ore train leaves Koolyanobbing since MinRes takeover

Koolyanobbing product is exported from the Port of Esperance.

Mineral Resources (MinRes) has secured a milestone at the Koolyanobbing iron ore operation in Western Australia by delivering its first fully loaded train from the site to the Port of Esperance.

The train departed from the Koolyanobbing site to Esperance yesterday for stockpiling in preparation for MinRes’ first shipment, which is expected to take place in the next four weeks.

The train consisted of 106 wagons carrying 7488 tonnes of iron ore fines. Rail access was provided by Arc Infrastructure.

MinRes announced it would acquire Koolyanobbing from previous owner Cleveland-Cliffs in June.

The company completed the deal with the Western Australian Government two months ago. It expects to ship up to 6.25Mt/y of iron ore from the site, which is 50km north of Southern Cross.

“When we decided earlier this year to take on the Koolyanobbing operations previously operated by Cleveland-Cliffs, we did so because of our firm belief we could sustain a viable iron ore export operation in the region and safeguard hundreds of jobs in regional Western Australia,” said MinRes managing director Chris Ellison.

“This successful outcome would not have been possible without the great assistance of Premier Mark McGowan and his Government, the leadership team at the Esperance port and Paul Larsen and his team at Arc Infrastructure.”

US-based Cliffs had planned to close the mine until MinRes made an offer, saving hundreds of local jobs in the process. Cliffs’ sale of Koolyanobbing to MinRes marked the US company’s exit from the Asia-Pacific iron ore market.

While neither party divulged the exact value of the deal, US-based Cliffs stated it would allow its closing costs to be reduced by $US65–75 million ($89–$103 million).