NT iron ore mine set for a revival

The Roper Bar iron ore mine in the Northern Territory has been cleared to restart under new ownership almost three years after it was closed.

Britmar, which acquired Roper Bar after former owner Western Desert Resources went into liquidation in April 2015, has secured approval from the NT Government for the project’s mine management plan.

The international company, which also owns a bauxite mine in Weipa, Queensland, plans to operate the mine using a local workforce, relying less on fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers. It will also establish a head office in Darwin.

Roper Bar, 55km south-east of Ngukurr, has been in care and maintenance since April 2015 after it was closed due to falling iron ore prices. Britmar now looks set to rapidly ramp up activities at the site.

“Britmar has indicated they are keen to get things moving as quickly as possible, and it will be great to see this mine up and running again,” NT Minister for Primary Industry and Resources Ken Vowles said.

Roper Bar, under its former owner, exported its first shipment of iron ore in November 2013 when the iron ore price sat at around $US130/tonne. The iron ore price for the benchmark 62 per cent fines finished overnight trading 1.4 per cent higher at $US78.41/t.

Minerals Council of Australia, NT Division executive director Drew Wagner said the Roper Bar revival was proof of the shifting trend of growth and confidence in the mining sector.

“To see projects such as this come back on line means the Territory will finally realise results from the efforts of previous works, and for many years to come,” Wagner said.

Britmar is also internationally known for its shipping, infrastructure and power generation services.