Soft economic times has forced Fortescue Metals Group to bring forward a planned maintenance shutdown program at one of its port and processing facilities in Australia, a spokesperson for the company has told MINING DAILY.
The 10 day shutdown program, now complete, was initially scheduled for the early part of next year, however, a slow-down in economic activity forced the mining giant to take stock and alter its maintenance timetable.
The maintenance will allow its ship loader to service two berths in the future.
“Originally, the port facility was a 45million tonne project,” the spokesperson said.
“What we found is that if we optimise the project we can achieve 55 mtpa. We had to shut the port down so we could implement the infrastructure necessary to enable the ship loader to traverse against both wharfs.”
The miner hopes to ramp up to its full production rate of 55 million tonnes a year early, but it has delayed a further expansion to 80 million tonnes by at least six months.
While the company is increasing its production rate at the port facility, the company has been forced to suspend construction of a railway line between its Cloudbreak and Christmas Creek deposits.
NRW Holdings, which was hired to build a rail spur from the Cloudbreak mine site to the Christmas Creek deposits, said the contract had been suspended after 47% of the work had been completed.
Fortescue now plans to truck ore from Christmas Creek to Cloudbreak.