Iron ore supply strategies

DRIVEN by China’s burgeoning iron and steel industries, iron ore exports increased for the fifth year in a row in 2006, as international trade in the commodity reached record levels.

DRIVEN by China’s burgeoning iron and steel industries, iron ore exports increased for the fifth year in a row in 2006, as international trade in the commodity reached record levels.

As a major exporter of iron ore Australia has been a significant benefactor of increasing demand, earning $16 billion in exports in 2006-07.

Capital expenditure on advanced iron ore projects last year was higher than for any other commodity.

As the location of the majority of advanced projects, it is fitting that the world’s premier iron ore event, Iron Ore 2007, is being held in Western Australia.

The Conference is the third in a very successful series run by The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy in conjunction with CSIRO Minerals and CSIRO Exploration and Mining.

The Conference will run in Perth from 20 to 22 August 2007.

“With demand outstripping supply, companies are looking for ways to get more out of their resources and infrastructure to take advantage of the current booming market,” said Dr Ralph Holmes, Conference Chair and CSIRO Theme Leader for Iron Ore.

“The Conference will give professionals from around the world the opportunity to share technical information on processes, technologies and innovations that can make a real difference to optimising their resources.”

Aptly, the Conference theme is ‘Broadening the Base.’

Topics include technical areas such as genesis and geology, exploration, mining and processing of iron ore, as well critical social themes such as community engagement.

With 57 papers from around the world, and over 60 overseas delegates, the Conference will be a truly international event.

“The broad participation in the Conference reflects the industry itself, both in international terms and in the range of companies that are acting as sponsors.”

“The iron ore industry is quite consolidated, with the three largest companies, CVRD, Rio Tinto and BHPB Billiton, together controlling 35% of the market. However, the healthy outlook for iron ore is encouraging new entrants to the industry, such as the Fortescue Metals Group (FMG).

“Consequently, with many new projects underway, opportunities for consulting companies to develop projects and/or optimise operations are plentiful,” said Dr Holmes.

The principal sponsors are SKM and Fluor Australia, who provide specialist consulting services, while Atlas Copco is sponsoring the Welcome Function.

The global ‘majors’ BHP Billiton Iron Ore and Pilbara Iron are sponsoring post-conference tours of their Western Australian operations, whereas FMG is acting both as a tour and Conference Dinner sponsor.

View the Conference web site at http://www.ausimm.com/main/ironore2007/

Dr Ralph Holmes

CSIRO Minerals

Ralph.holmes@csiro.au

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