SYDNEY: Mineral Resources Limited (MRL) announced first iron ore production from the Company’s Wonmunna Iron Ore Mine in the Pilbara region, Western Australia.
The milestone, achieved less than five months after breaking ground, was in line with the Company’s guidance to bring Wonmunna into production this quarter and serves as another example of MRL’s industry-leading mining services capability to safely build, own and operate infrastructure in the Australian mining sector.
MRL expects Wonmunna to ramp up to the approved 5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) run rate in the June Quarter 2021.
There is the potential to expand Wonmunna’s output to 10Mtpa upon the successful grant of additional approvals for little additional capital cost.
Ore from Wonmunna will be used to underpin MRL’s Utah Point Hub iron ore blend, which includes tonnes from Iron Valley and will incorporate production from the proposed Lamb Creek and Wedge mines. The addition of Wonmunna production will help MRL boost output from the Utah Point export facility at Port Hedland towards 14Mtpa by the end of the December 2021 Quarter.
Wonmunna, 80km north-west of Newman and 360km south of Port Hedland, was purchased from the Australian Aboriginal Mining Corporation Limited (AAMC) in the September 2020 Quarter.
In llne with the undisclosed terms of the transaction, AAMC’s shareholders will be receiving a royalty in respect of the first 40 million dry metric tonnes extracted and removed from the area.
Mineral Resources Managing Director Chris Ellison said: “Wonmunna’s rapid and safe development is testimony to the MRL team’s ability to deliver what others thought impossible. It is the innovative design of our NextGen crushing plants and the agility of our people who make this happen.”
“Wonmunna’s development was completed on time and within budget. Once we ramp up Wonmunna to full production, the mine will provide permanent employment for 500 men and women.”
“This is a great outcome not just for MRL but also for AAMC’s shareholders, who will shortly receive their first royalty cheque from Wonmunna.”