Atlas Iron has officially opened the Mt. Webber mine in Pilbara of Western Australia. The iron ore mine is the company’s fifth in the region.
Production at the Mt. Webber mine is already producing iron ore at a rate of three million tons per year and the company expects to reach six million tons following the commissioning of the second phase expansion at the end of the year.
According to Atlas’ managing director Ken Brinsden, the company has been able to take advantage of Pilbara’s cheap labor market.
"As a result we've got some cost-effective contracts in place but also it's a very low-cost mine due to the low strip ratio. It's quite unusual in that regard because we don't have to move a lot of waste in order to access the ore."
He added, "These lower capital and operating costs continue to improve our already strong position on the global cost curve, and against our peers in Australia.”
The Mt. Webber mine is expected to make a long-term impact on Pilbara.
"The low $212 million capital cost of the project includes a substantial contribution towards road upgrades in the region, which benefits all Pilbara road users,” said Brinsden.
The mine, which is a joint venture project with Altura Mining, is located approximately 140 miles south-east of Port Hedland and the company’s lowest-cost operation to date.
"We are also proud that an infrastructure sharing arrangement with Altura Mining has helped foster another independent producer and unlock what would otherwise be a stranded resource for the benefit of both parties, the community, and the State of Western Australia," said Brinsden.
From 2013 to 2014, Atlas Iron’s ore shipment from Pilbara operations has increased 47 percent to 10.9 million tons.