BHP’s end of quarter operational review has confirmed that construction of the South Flank iron ore project in the Pilbara, Western Australia is now 50% complete.
BHP Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Mackenzie, commented in his report: “We delivered a solid start to the 2020 financial year through ongoing strong operational performance across our portfolio. While Group production for the quarter decreased slightly due to the expected impacts of planned maintenance and natural field decline in Petroleum, guidance remains unchanged and we are on track to deliver slightly higher volumes than last financial year.
“The South Flank iron ore project is 50 per cent complete, with all our major projects on schedule and budget. We achieved further encouraging exploration results in Petroleum and at the Oak Dam copper prospect.”
The multi-billion-dollar project is on track for initial production in 2021, replacing production from the 80 million tonne a year Yandi mine near Newman.
BHP has awarded multiple contracts at South Flank since work began in summer 2018. It has built a strong line up of contractors, including: thyssenkrupp (rail mounted stackers and reclaimers supply and installation), Fenner Dunlop (50-kilometre overland belt supply), Primero Group (balance machine works), Clough (ore handling plant construction) and Precast Australia (concrete elements supply). Komatsu will also deploy 41 new model Komatsu 930E-5 ultra-class haul trucks, made autonomous ready for the Pilbara-based mine.
BHP’s iron ore production in the September quarter fell by 3% to 61 million tonnes on the previous period. This was attributed to significant planned maintenance at Port Hedland, including a major car dumper maintenance program.