Infrastructure to support South Australia’s mining industry will take a step in the right direction following the approval of an iron ore project on the Eyre Peninsula, according to an industry expert.
Centrex Metals has been offered a 10-year mining lease for its Wilgerup iron ore project, which will boost the State’s minerals sector and benefit SA’s wider economy.
While exploration in SA has been going strong for some years, iron ore developments have lagged behind and limited infrastructure advancements.
“Currently there are limitations to rail facilities and our port is not equipped to hold large amounts of iron ore,” Centrex Metals managing director Gerard Anderson told MINING DAILY.
“As mineral developments go ahead, there is now room to move forward in terms of infrastructure.”
A number of road, port and rail facilities will be modified to sustain the project and support future iron ore developments in the State.
“Connecting roads will be sealed to prevent dust run-off and rail facilities will be used to maximise output,” Anderson said.
Unloaders at Port Lincoln Wharf will also be modified, and a conveyor system and storage area will be upgraded to accommodate iron ore.
With Port Lincoln currently running at only 15% capacity, Anderson said the modifications will make use of the facilities and allow the company to maximise output for its overseas clients.
“The upgrades will pave the way for future projects and make a strong base for further developments in the State,” he said.
Commercial mining at Wilgerup is expected to begin in 2010, subject to development approvals at Port Lincoln. The first shipment is currently scheduled for May 2010.
“This is a key milestone in our drive to transition from explorer to iron ore producer, and to add a new iron ore era to South Australia’s mining profile,” Anderson said.