Gina Rinehart will be excited this week because her Roy Hill mine in Western Australia has already started iron ore production.
The first iron ore was extracted last week from the remote Pilbara mine.
The Roy Hill mine was an ambitious project and one that saw Rinehart once again grabbing the media spotlight. The history of this new Australian iron ore mine has been well documented for many reasons.
Over the last 12-18 months we’ve witnessed a massive change in the Australian mining industry.
The Roy Hill iron ore project was always going to be an ambitious one, given there are 3 other big Australian mining companies already pumping out record volumes of iron ore from the remote mineral-rich state of Western Australia.
Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals Group and BHP have well-established iron ore mines with a well-developed infrastructure to get the iron ore to the ship loading facilities in record time. All of this mining activity in WA has created a massive stockpile of iron ore that is waiting to be consumed by developing nations like China and Japan, who rely heavily on imported iron ore to feed their steel-making industry.
“looking to the future with great optimism”
Despite the loosening of the iron ore price, increased Australian competition in the mining industry and the threat of other supplies of iron ore being mined in countries like South America and India, the Australian mining industry continues to look to the future with great optimism.
Yes, times have changed and will continue to do so – it is the way the world works. New technology is unfolding and now being implemented in the mining industry. New computer systems and autonomous vehicle management systems will change the industry forever.
“technology makes Roy Hill more efficient”
The new technologies which have been employed at Roy Hill, will also make the mine more efficient, allowing it to compete in a global market.
Future vision is so important for the growth of the Australian economy, and mining plays a big part in how Australia fares in terms of gross domestic product. Mining also generates billions of dollars of revenue for the Australian government in taxes and fees which are needed to develop the nation further.
“how quickly the mining industry is moving ahead”
When we see the positive news coming out of the Pilbara and realise the Roy Hill mine is already producing iron ore, it makes us take notice of how quickly the industry is moving ahead.
Despite problems with funding for the Roy Hill project, the new mine was still developed and after much negotiation, the final investment was injected into the project allowing the first high-grade ore to be mined.
Incredibly, this was just a mere two months after final funding for the project was given the approval by a myriad of investors.
Roy Hill mine shifts into production mode
After a massive period of development and contracts that were awarded to Downer EDI, who won a 4 year contract for mining services estimated to be worth around $500 million, NRW was awarded a $620 million rail earthworks contract.
The now dissolved Forge Group was initially awarded $830 million for construction and processing works and Brookfield Multiplex were given a $70 million contract to develop the non-processing infrastructure at the mine.
With a 2500-strong mining workforce of employees and contractors and contracts estimated at some $3 billion to develop the mine, the iron ore project has been powering ahead and to this day remains on schedule.
“Roy Hill was spending $10 million-a-day”
The size of the Roy Hill project is phenomenal and it has been estimated the mining company was spending close to $10 million day to construct the mine. This also includes ancillary logistics program development to build the massive rail network and port infrastructure.
With existing mining companies like Rio Tinto, Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (FMGL) and BHP collectively producing somewhere in the region of 550 million tonnes of iron ore annually, Roy Hill will only add to this massive figure. It’s estimated iron ore production at Roy Hill will be approximately 55 million tonnes per annum and will add close to 7 per cent to Australian iron ore exports.
Who owns Roy Hill mine?
According to the latest data, Roy Hill Holdings is 70 per cent-owned by Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting – a legacy from her iron ore magnate father Lang, who passed away in 1992. In a bid to raise the capital required for the project, Rinehart sold off 30 per cent of the project in 2013, the remainder is now owned by South Korea’s Posco, Japan’s Marubeni and Taiwan’s China Steel Corporation.
“crucible of opportunity” during a period of global uncertainty”
Gina Rinehart has been quoted as saying her Roy Hill mining project was certainly ambitions and relied on the skill and determination of her team to get the project off the ground. She went on to say, “It has already shown it will create new jobs, and benefit the greater mining and construction related industries, it will add to Australia`s exports, and significantly benefit our West Australian and national economies”.
Where is the Roy Hill mine?
Given the remote location of the mine, which is situated about 1130km north-northeast of Perth, a FIFO (fly-in, fly-out) workforce has been used to construct the mine. Typically, the mine will use traditional drill and blast technology to get at the iron ore. Multiple pits will be dug and operated simultaneously, with each pit being wide and relatively shallow, with the deepest pit being less than 110 metres in height.
Many would be surprised to learn that the mine sits on an elevation of approximately 462m above sea-level and the nearest populated town is Newman which is 110km away. The mine is also 97 kilometres away from the main Western Australian Great Northern Highway.
Mining jobs at Roy Hill
Construction of the mine began in 2013, with many civil contracts being awarded to various contracting companies. One of the biggest job phases is during the construction process and as we can see, there has been a lot of activity to get the project up and running as soon as possible.
Mining jobs at Roy Hill are still being advertised and can be found on the many jobs boards like SEEK, Indeed and the official Roy Hill website which can be found here: http://www.royhill.com.au/content/apply-now-0
There are two types of job classifications on offer at the Roy Hill iron ore mine.
They are Operations and Construction. During the construction of the mine 8500 temporary construction jobs are being created. Once the mine has been built and the operational phase of the project begins, about 2000 permanent Australian mining jobs in Western Australia will be created.
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Komatsu 830E Haul Truck
The Komatsu 830E is an ultra class dump truck used in Australian open pit mining operations an is designed and built in Peoria, Illinois by Komatsu America Corporation (parent company is the Japanese held company Komatsu Ltd.
The Komatsu 830E is a beast, with 231,000 kilogram capacity (255 short tons). Although this is a big truck, the 830E's load capacity is about 66% the capacity of the Liebherr T 282C and Caterpillar 797B.This is an electric truck and is being featured in many new mining operations as well established mines in WA and QLD.
The electric drive system is very different fromt the transmission/differential drive of traditional trucks. The diesel engine is connected to a GE traction alternator with high voltage cables transfering electricity to the two wheel motors at the rear of the truck.
Read more about the KOMATSU 830E mining dump truck on the Komatsu website