Mount Gibson pushes Koolan Island closer to restart

Dewatering at Koolan Island.

Mount Gibson Iron has entered the final stage of the restart program at the Koolan Island iron ore project in the Kimberley, Western Australia.

The company is on track for first ore sales from the high-grade hematite iron ore operation in the March quarter of 2019.

Koolan Island operations have been suspended since November 2014 when a seawall failure flooded the mine’s main pit.

Mount Gibson has launched high volume dewatering of the main pit. The company is pumping seawater out of the main pit at a rate of over 1500L a second using large capacity submersible pumps.

The start of the dewatering process follows the completion of a concrete seepage barrier at the seawall last month.

Mount Gibson chief executive officer Jim Beyer said the company was dewatering at a rate equivalent to emptying an Olympic-sized swimming pool every half hour, keeping it on track to complete dewatering by the end of the year.

“Given the structural change in pricing favouring high grade ores – material over 65 per cent Fe is currently attracting a premium in excess of 33 per cent relative to the 62 per cent Fe benchmark – our high-grade Koolan Island restart project represents an outstanding investment that positions Mount Gibson to generate strong cashflow well into the next decade,” Beyer said.

Koolan Island has a 21Mt ore reserve at grading of 65.5 per cent Fe.