Fortescue Metals adds 300 million tonnes of iron ore resources to Chichester Range mining operations
Iron ore mining in Australia has been under the hammer for over 18 months as the slowdown in construction in China bit hard. Mining companies in Australia, especially in the iron ore state of Western Australia, and in particular the Pilbara region were forced to make some tough decisions.
One of the decisions they made to combat falling iron ore prices was to drive hard for efficiency improvements.
Increasing production was at the top of the ‘to-do’ list for the iron ore giants like Rio Tinto, BHP and Fortescue Metals Group. The more iron ore that was dug up, processed and shipped overseas meant cash-flow was consistent. Without cash-flow, there is no room for longevity and the result of that is some superfluous mining jobs were targeted for reduction.
Fortescue Metals – knocking out big numbers in terms of iron ore shipments
Despite a weak iron ore price in January 2015, mining companies like Fortescue Metals (FMG) have been rallying to the production cause and knocking out big numbers in terms of iron ore shipments.
Fortescue, which operates four mines in two ‘hubs’ in the West Australian Pilbara, has reported a huge 300 million-tonne increase to its iron ore base along the Chichester Range. FMG announced to its shareholders that the increased iron ore tonnage included additional resources immediately north of its Cloudbreak and Christmas Creek operations.
“delivering a further 46 million tonnes”
The company added about 70 million tonnes of iron ore at its Cloudbreak operation with the Christmas Creek mine delivering a further 46 million tonnes.
Fortescue has mining tenements where the iron ore lies close to the surface, meaning an inexpensive low-strip ratio which would allow FMG to add these into existing mine plans.
“80 million tonnes increase in iron ore”
With continual iron ore exploration and drilling operations in the Pilbara, about 35 kilometres south-east of Christmas Creek, an iron ore resource of just over 100 million tonnes had been found at Kutayi. An additional iron ore deposit has been identified at Mt Lewin which has increased the total amount of iron ore resource to 280 million tonnes.
This is a 80 million increase from the current 200 million tonnes.
Fortescue has also hinted it will continue with exploration activities along the Chichester Range.
Mining jobs with Fortescue Metals
You might think with the decline in the price of iron ore and the push for greater productivity using automation technology, mining jobs in the Pilbara would be hard to find.
“many jobs that have still not been filled”
Whilst there is some truth to this, there are also many jobs that have still not been filled. As we can see from Fortescue’s announcement, they are continuing to drill and explore for more iron ore in the Chichester Ranges. Drilling jobs are still available, as are support roles like a drillers off-sider and driller T/A.
With these types of jobs, there are some qualifications that need to be gained before applying for such mining jobs in Western Australia.
“find out where the jobs are”
However, many jobs in drilling have been picked up by people who went across to WA and made it their mission to find out where the jobs are, move closer to the job location, and make themselves known to the recruiting companies or direct to the employer themselves.
Deciding if you want to work in the hot, dusty and remote locations drilling for iron ore is something of a personal choice. Not everyone can do it, nor do they have the opportunity to do so because of family commitments.
One thing we will say is, if you want to follow the mining work, that’s exactly what you have to do . . . get over to WA, find out where the jobs are, get qualified and get stuck in.
Or . . .
Keep up-to-date with WA mining job opportunities by subscribing to iMINCO Project News, the free weekly email service that delivers the latest mining jobs news from around Australia. Over 20,000 subscribers are already finding new careers just by reading Project News.