MinRes train transport plan on track
Long-held plans to transport iron ore from a central Goldfields mine to Esperance instead of Kwinana are closer to fruition, with Mineral Resources working with several Esperance-based companies to put the dream on track.
Under the proposal, iron ore would be transferred from MinRes’ Carina site, 100km north-east of Southern Cross, to Esperance by train.
This would trump the current arrangement of transporting the commodity to Kwinana. MinRes is now monitoring noise emissions from the train to make sure they are within acceptable levels, working alongside the Southern Ports Authority, CBH and Brookfield Rail.
The plans are part of cost-cutting measures, expected to save $10 a tonne in transport costs.
The new method would mean significant savings to the company during a period of low iron ore prices and would ensure MinRes remained profitable and employment was secure.
In a quarterly report released yesterday, the company claimed the transfer would “enable the existing port infrastructure to be more effectively utilised and generate economic benefits for the broader Esperance community”.
It is expected the economic benefit will come through increased opportunities for train operation.
The miner has been interested in transporting the mineral via train to Esperance for about six years, but progress was halted because of several complications. MinRes upped its exports from its Pilbara and Yilgarn operations in the December quarter.
It shipped 1.7 million tonnes from its Iron Valley mine near Newman, up from 1.4mt in the September period, and 1.5mt from its Carina operations, north-east of Southern Cross.
MinRes shipped 1.2mt from Carina in the previous period.
While the company did not give cost figures for either operation, or disclose its received prices, MinRes said both operations generated cash in the December quar- ter, despite a falling iron ore price.
MinRes said its Carina mine was now running at an annualised rate of about 5.2mt.
Its near-neighbour in the Yilgarn region, US-based Cliffs Natural Resources, maintained only the thinnest of cash margins at its Koolyanobbing mine, which exports through Esperance.
Quarterly production figures released by Cliffs this week show it shipped 2.9mt in the December quarter, at a total cash cost of $US33.70/t and received an average $US33.73/t for its product.