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Thursday, 24 April 2014 14:00

BHP Billiton opens Jimblebar iron ore mine

BHP Billiton celebrated the official opening of its new Jimblebar iron ore mine 40 kilometres east of Newman in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

BHP Billiton President Iron Ore Jimmy Wilson, was joined by the Premier of Western Australia, the Hon. Colin Barnett, and joint venture participants ITOCHU Corporation (ITOCHU) and Mitsui & Co., Ltd (Mitsui) to open the US$3.2 billion (BHP Billiton share) Jimblebar mine.

Jimblebar delivered first production in the quarter ending September 2013 and is expected to deliver phase one capacity of 35 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) by the end of the 2015 financial year.  Together with the installation of four mobile crushers, this will increase total Western Australia Iron Ore (WAIO) supply chain capacity to in excess of 220 mtpa (100 per cent basis), Caspian Energy News (www.caspianenergy.net) reports with reference to the press service of BHP Billiton.

 Longer term, a low cost option to expand Jimblebar to 55 mtpa and the broader debottlenecking of the supply chain is expected to underpin capital efficient growth in WAIO capacity to approximately 260 mtpa to 270 mtpa (100 per cent basis).

 BHP Billiton Iron Ore President, Jimmy Wilson, said extensive planning and research went into designing Jimblebar’s mining operation, with productivity measures and technology central to the design plan.

“Mobile crib rooms and fuelling stations have been positioned closer to the mine pits so our trucks and equipment spend more time moving earth and less time travelling or parked out of action,” he said.

“Our pursuit of productivity gains and operational excellence is delivering significant value at Western Australia Iron Ore. The business is now well positioned to deliver high margin volume growth at a substantially lower cost.

“We are also pleased to announce we are extending our Jimblebar autonomous truck trial to the neighbouring Wheelarra operations using six Caterpillar 793-F trucks in the second trial.”

Mr Wilson acknowledged the positive relationships between employees, Indigenous land owners and joint venture participants ITOCHU and Mitsui that have been crucial to the success of the Western Australian business.

“The agreement we have with the traditional owners will build on our existing relationship and will ensure that the Nyiyaparli people can share in the benefits of the new mine.

“Over the past two years alone, we have invested over A$1.3 billion in the Western Australian community, including community projects, town servicing infrastructure, training opportunities and regional development activities and accommodation.”

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