WA gives Fortescue green light for Eliwana rail construction

Image: Fortescue Metals Group.

The Western Australian Government has granted a special rail licence for the construction and operation of Fortescue Metal Group’s Eliwana iron ore mine and rail project in the Pilbara region.

Fortescue chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines, chief operating officer Greg Lilleyman and Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan visited Pacific Industrial Company (PIC) in Kwinana where the premier made the announcement.

PIC is one of many Western Australian companies that has benefitted from the $1 billion in contracts awarded by Fortescue for the Eliwana project.

Fortescue has spent 82 per cent of its project expenditure with 290 Western Australian businesses and a further 9 per cent with other companies across Australia.

“It’s outstanding to see the majority of the work on this mammoth $1.7 billion project is happening here in Western Australia,” McGowan said.

“Eliwana is a huge project not only for Fortescue but for a lot of small to medium enterprises in Western Australia and for the 2400 workers in total who are expected to get jobs out of it.”

PIC is manufacturing more than 2600 tonnes of fabricated structural steel into rail and road bridge girder modules for the Eliwana project.

The road and rail bridge girders are the largest and heaviest to ever be constructed in Western Australia, according to PIC managing director Marco Mosole.

“With all the steel manufactured and fabricated in Australia, it has enabled the industry to demonstrate the capacity and capability that exist here to undertake these sizeable projects,” he said.

Gaines said she was pleased Fortescue could provide so many Eliwana contracts to local companies.

“As a proud West Australian company, we are pleased to provide opportunities for local small and medium sized businesses ,” Gaines said.

“Importantly, we are proud to support Aboriginal participation in the resources sector, with the Eliwana project awarding 19 contracts worth a total of $25.5 million to Aboriginal contractors as part of our pioneering Billion Opportunities program.”

The Eliwana mine and rail project includes 143 kilometres of rail development and a 30 million tonnes a year dry ore processing facility.

Once complete, Eliwana will continue Fortescue’s low-cost iron ore producer status and maintain its overall production rate of 170 million tonnes a year for 20 years.

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