Fortescue Metals Group approves $2.6bn Iron Bridge expansion at Pilbara

By Daniel Brightmore
Fortescue Metals Group and JV partner Formosa Steel have approved development of the $2.6bn Iron Bridge magnetite project in Pilbara, Western Australia...

Fortescue Metals Group and JV partner Formosa Steel have approved development of the $2.6bn Iron Bridge magnetite project in Pilbara, Western Australia.

The iron ore project is expected to produce 22 million tonnes per year, producing a 67% iron content product, suitable for pellet feed or blending with sinter fines. 

Fortescue’s Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines commented: “The Iron Bridge Project holds Australia’s largest JORC compliant magnetite resource supporting a long mine life. The successful delivery of the Project by the joint venture partners is underpinned by Fortescue’s unparalleled track record and capability in safely developing and operating major iron ore projects in the Pilbara.

“The Project is well progressed and ready for detailed design and execution with the majority of key approvals already in place. The innovative design, including the use of a dry crushing and grinding circuit, will deliver an industry-leading energy efficient operation with globally competitive capital intensity and operating costs,” Ms Gaines said. 

“In developing the Iron Bridge Project, Fortescue has demonstrated and refined each step of the ore processing system and conducted full-scale trials. Our focus has been to create the most energy and cost-efficient ore processing facility, tailored to the specific ore we will mine.”

First ore delivery is expected in 2022 with the ramp to full production forecast to take 12 months.Iron Bridge boasts a mineral resource of 5.45 billion tonnes and a mine life greater than 20 years including an ore reserve of 716 million tonnes.

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“The Iron Bridge Project will deliver a premium product with iron content of 67%, further enhancing the range of products available to our customers through our flexible integrated operations and marketing strategy. When combined with the Eliwana development, it will increase Fortescue’s average product grade and provide the ability to deliver the majority of our products at greater than 60% Fe, consistent with our long-term goal,” added Gaines.

Wilfred Wang, Standing Member of Formosa Plastics Group Executive Management Committee stated: “We believe the premium product from the Iron Bridge Project will be very competitive, particularly as steel mills are now looking to increase productivity. The high-quality product will be able to be used for both sintering and pelletising and, for Formosa, will increase the options for raw material supply available to its steel mill in Vietnam.” 


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