Mt Webber to double production by year’s end

Production at Mt Webber is set to double, after an announcement by Atlas Iron’s board revealed their approval for the development of the mine’s Stage 2 project.

The new project will double production at the Pilbara operation to six million tonnes per year, expected by the end of December.

Atlas said the life of mine operating costs are now expected to be in the range of $49-51 per wet metric tonne (WMT), representing a significant reduction from the $56/WMT originally estimated for the Stage 1 project.

The combined stages of the Mt Webber project, including road upgrades, are estimated to cost $212 million.

Atlas managing director Ken Brinsden said the mine is a highly capital efficient one, and that the combines costs represented $35 per annualised tonne of production.

“Atlas has a track record of delivering new mines in a cost effective, timely manner and the completion of the second stage of Mt Webber will fulfil the company’s original Horizon 1 vision, with further material opportunities in the pipeline,” he said.

Yesterday’s announcement comes on the back of strong profit results for the half year ended December 31.

Atlas finished the year with $389 million gross cash after investing $201 million in company growth activities.

“These funds were invested in expanding mine and infrastructure capacity, and in additional exploration drilling, which contributed to significant new discoveries at the North Pilbara-based Corunna Downs and Miralga Creek projects,” Brinsden said.

“We are now producing at over 10-million tons a year and heading towards 12-millon tons a year and have a significant resource base in the Pilbara and port entitlements, giving us attractive options for value accretive growth.”

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