BHP Billiton have been planning for increased iron ore output in the WA Pilbara for some time.
The Jimblebar iron ore mine is the latest BHP Billiton mine to undergo a massive expansion phase.
BHP Billiton had previously delayed the opening of the mine due to bad weather in the Pilbara, however five months later, the mine was officially opened.
“a hot spot for mining jobs”
iMINCO has been reporting about the mining activities in the WA Pilbara region for some time. This is a hot spot for mining jobs, both at the operational and managerial levels.
Despite the pressures of the Australian dollar and growing speculation of an iron ore surplus in the coming years, Australian mining companies are pushing ahead with mine expansions as well as opening new mines.
“creating thousands of BHP Billiton jobs”
BHP Billiton have always been a world leader in mining technology and have invested heavily in Australia’s mining and resource sector, creating thousands of BHP Billiton jobs along the way.
The Jimblebar expansion has once again cemented BHP’s vision to be one of the most versatile mining companies on the planet, where mining investment is seen as a long term solution to developing a solid future for workers and local communities.
BHP Billiton’s expansion plans defy current market expectations
Given the remote location of the Pilbara and in particular the challenges faced by mining companies like BHP, we can see there is a sound resolve that permeates through the management ranks of these companies.
No matter what state the world economies are in, nor the price fluctuations of raw materials, mining in Australia will still push forward, consolidating its foothold as a leader in mining technology and productivity.
The Jimblebar expansion is a US$3.6 billion project. Since the mine came online, the first production was reached in the September quarter of 2013 which was six months ahead of schedule.
The BHP iron ore mine is looking good to deliver a further 35 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of iron ore, with the infrastructure and capacity to reach 55mtpa.
With all of the increased activity and taking into account this new expansion, BHP Billiton is looking for a target of some 220 million tonnes per annum of iron ore production.
“get the most out of automation and technology”
BHP Billiton have employed a wide range of new technologies at Jimblebar with extensive planning and research going into the initial mine design. To maximise productivity, an up-to-date mine plan was critical to allow the company to rationalise its workforce planning operations and to get the most out of automation and remote mine-site management.
The use of Cat 793-F† autonomous haul trucks†is also being trialed in a bid to realise more efficiencies at the mine.
The Jimblebar mine project includes a brand new earthmoving equipment fleet, doubling up of the rail line from the main line to the mining hub, a new stockyard with four million tonne iron ore stockpile capacity, a new primary iron ore crusher and a new iron ore preparation and handling facility. Several port and rail facilities to accommodate the increased production from the mine complete the mammoth expansion project.
2200 person FIFO village
Additional infrastructure includes mobile equipment and fixed plant workshops, fuel storage and distribution areas. Water and waste treatment plants were also built as well as modern administration buildings and an accommodation village boasting the very latest in home comforts and FIFO living amenities.
“Jimblebar boasts the very latest in FIFO accommodation”
The 2200 person FIFO village includes; a fully equipped gym, netted cricket pitch, basketball court, beach volleyball court and recreation room. Each worker has a room that is fully equipped with an en-suite bathroom, television with Foxtel channels, refrigerator and air-conditioning.
Situated 40km east of Newman the mine, which was acquired by BHP in 1992, is expected to increase its capacity from 14 million tonnes annually to 20mtpa. Thiess is the primary contractor at Jimblebar, with a typical work roster being 2 weeks on and 1 week off.