MinRes train trans­port plan on track

Kalgoorlie Miner - - NEWS - Tyne Lo­gan and Nick Evans

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.

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