Fortescue shifts Iron Bridge contractors following blowout

Fortescue Metals Group is redeploying contractors from the Iron Bridge magnetite project in Western Australia to other sites after completing a review of its operational strategy.

Company chief executive Elizabeth Gaines said this could impact around 380 contractor positions as Fortescue was completing its review.

This leaves around 1700 employees and contractors at the Iron Bridge project after redeployments.

Iron Bridge was scheduled for an estimated $US2.6 billion ($3.4 billion) of capital costs in April 2019 when Fortescue announced its final investment decision for a stage two development.

“In February, Fortescue completed a detailed review of the Iron Bridge magnetite project which indicated a revised preliminary capital estimate of up to $US3 billion, with a further 12-week technical and commercial assessment under way scheduled to be completed in mid-May 2021,” Gaines said.

“We are drawing on the innovative and technical expertise of the whole Fortescue team as we undertake this comprehensive project assessment, which includes a review of our contractor strategy and selection.”

The review has resulted on the departure of Fortescue chief operating officer Greg Lilleyman and directors Don Hyma and Manie McDonald last month.

Gaines said in February that the company had “lost sight” of its values and culture inside the Iron Bridge team.

She and chief financial officer Ian Wells have volunteered to give up their incentive payments this financial year.

“We take this opportunity to reset the company’s focus on our culture and values which defines us and makes Fortescue a truly great company,” Gaines added at the time.

According to Gaines, works on critical path items including engineering, off site fabrication, procurement activities and site-based civil works at the Iron Bridge project are continuing.

The Iron Bridge project is owned under a joint venture arrangement between Fortescue and Taiwan’s Formosa Steel IB.

It is targeted to produce 22 million tonnes a year of high grade 67 per cent iron magnetite concentrate product.

The project is 145 kilometres south of Port Hedland.

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