Fortescue halts Solomon Hub to investigate incident

Fortescue Metals Groups’ Solomon ore processing facility. Image: Fortescue Metals Group.

Fortescue Metals Group has suspended its Solomon Hub iron ore operations in Western Australia’s Pilbara region following a ‘significant incident.’

The incident involved a collapse of ground, Fortescue stated, causing one male worker to lose their life.

Solomon Hub is 300 kilometres south of Port Hedland and its three mines – Firetail, Kings Valley and Queens Valley – have the capacity to produce 75 million tonnes of iron ore per annum.

A full investigation has begun as Fortescue works with the WA Police and WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety to understand the cause of the collapse.

Fortescue chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines said the company was offering any assistance required by those affected.

“This is a very sad day for Fortescue and all our thoughts are with his family as we provide our full support to them at this very difficult time,” Gaines said.

“The wellbeing of the entire Fortescue family is our priority with a range of support services available across our sites, including the Fortescue Chaplains and Employee Assistance Program.”

The major miner had recently contracted the Wintawari Guruma Aboriginal Corporation to develop new mines at Solomon Hub, forking out $500 million over 10 years in the largest deal by Fortescue with an Aboriginal business.

An $80 million contract was also awarded at Queens Valley to an NRW Holdings subsidiary in January 2021 for the design and construction of a primary crushing plant and overland conveyor.

The incident at Solomon Hub occurred less than two weeks after another incident at CITIC Pacific’s Sino Iron mine in Western Australia which also temporarily suspended operations.

More to come…

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