Since loading our first iron ore shipment bound for China in May 2008, Fortescue has become the third largest iron ore producer in Australia and we are still growing. We have an enviable record of rapidly bringing new projects online so we can unlock the significant potential of the Pilbara’s vast resources.
Located in the heart of the Pilbara, the Chichester Hub is made up of Fortescue’s flagship minesite Cloudbreak and our second minesite Christmas Creek. Together, the two minesites currently produce 55 million tonnes per annum and will ramp up to a targeted 95 million tonnes per annum in 2013.
Fortescue’s first minesite, Cloudbreak currently mines and processes ore at a rate of 40 million tonnes per annum and has been in full operation since 2008.
The horizontal nature of the deposits at Cloudbreak called for a new mining approach to that used at other mines which operate on vertical deposits of ore. Overburden removal is done using conventional blast, truck and shovel methods while specially designed surface miners cut and load the ore into trucks for transport to the run of mine stockpiles.
Screening, crushing and desand plants at the Cloudbreak ore processing facility prepare and refine the product before the ore is stockpiled ahead of transport to port. The train loadout facility at Cloudbreak is capable feeding 16,000 tonnes of ore per hour on the 2.7 kilometre long trains ready for the journey along the 256 kilometre heavy haul railway to our facilities at Herb Elliott Port in Port Hedland.
Mining began at Christmas Creek, 50 kilometres to the east of Cloudbreak, in May 2009. Within the next two years, major expansion projects had been undertaken to increase the capacity of Fortescue’s second minesite. During the first phase of the Christmas Creek expansion, a new ore processing facility was constructed and successfully wet commissioned in March 2011.
The ore processing facility is now operating at its targeted capacity of approximately 18 million tonnes per annum. The expansion also saw a 50 kilometre extension to the existing Port Hedland to Cloudbreak rail line to transport the ore from Christmas Creek to Cloudbreak and Port Hedland.
Work is also complete on a 1600 bed permanent operations village to house the growing Christmas Creek workforce.Work is well underway on the second phase of expansion as part of the Chichester Hub expansion to 95mtpa.