Xstrata Copper has shipped its first magnetite concentrate this morning, making the miner Queensland first magnetite exporter.
“This milestone strengthens our north Queensland copper operations,” Xstrata Copper NQ chief operating officer Steve de Kruijff said.
“The Ernest Henry Mine (EHM) will produce about 1.2 million tonnes of magnetite concentrate per year, which will be used to fuel Asia’s steel industry and also used as a washing agent in domestic coal operations,” he said.
The move is “the final milestone for Xstrata’s $79 million magnetite project at EHM,” the miner stated.
It is part of the miner’s plan to transform Ernest Henry from an open cut pit into a major underground copper gold operation.
Magnetite concentrate will be stockpiled at EHM and then transported via road to a rail load-out facility near Cloncurry, after which it will be hauled to Townsville.
It is predicted to create a number of new jobs at the port, de Kruijff saying “the receival, storage and shipping of magnetite concentrate has generated 14 additional operator and maintenance roles within the operations and another two positions within shipping and sales”.
Port of Townsville CEO Barry Holden said the first export of magnetite in the state was exciting and that the company looks forward to growing this trade.