Overview of operations

As one of the world’s largest producers of iron ore, Fortescue’s wholly owned and integrated operations in the Pilbara include the Chichester and Solomon mining hubs and the Western Hub, which is currently under development. Our mining infrastructure is connected to the five berth Herb Elliott Port and Judith Street Harbour towage facility in Port Hedland via the fastest, heavy haul railway in the world.

 

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Chichester Hub 

Our Chichester Hub in the Chichester Ranges, comprising the Cloudbreak and Christmas Creek mines, has an annual production capacity of approximately 100mtpa from three Ore Processing Facilities (OPFs). 

Consistent and sustained output delivered from the OPFs has allowed us to optimise our product strategy through enhanced blending and beneficiation, increasing iron upgrades and reducing impurities. This has contributed to lower mining cut-off grades, as we optimise ore bodies with sustainably lower strip ratios. 

The Christmas Creek OPF infrastructure is being upgraded to include a Wet High Intensity Magnetic Separator (WHIMS) plant to further maximise production rates and enhance the value of our ore. The WHIMS construction will be completed by the end of 2020. 

Cloudbreak utilises relocatable conveyors which can be moved, lengthened or shortened once an area is mined. The conveyors now cover 10km, extended from the initial 5km length due to the success and efficiency of this innovative infrastructure. 

 

Solomon Hub

The Solomon Hub in the Hamersley Ranges is located 60km north of Tom Price and 120km to the west of our Chichester Hub. It comprises the Firetail and Kings Valley mines which together have a production capacity of 75mtpa. 

Solomon represents a valuable source of production by blending higher iron grade, low cost Firetail ore with low phosphorous Chichester ore to create Fortescue Blend. The current operation will expand to include the Queens Valley mining area to maintain production of the Kings Fines product. 

 

Western Hub 

Fortescue is developing the Western Hub, which includes significant amounts of high iron content bedded iron ore and will be home to the Eliwana mine. Located 140km to the west of Solomon and due to be completed in December 2020, the Eliwana project includes 143km of rail and a 30mpta dry OPF. 

Eliwana will contribute to Fortescue’s core iron ore business as it underpins the ramp up of our 60.1% Fe West Pilbara Fines product. The operation will maintain our low cost status, providing greater flexibility to capitalise on market dynamics.

 

Hedland Operations 

Fortescue wholly owns and operates our purpose designed rail and port facilities, constructed to deliver iron ore from our mines to Port Hedland for shipment to our customers. Covering 620km of track, with the additional 143km under construction for Eliwana, our railway is the fastest, heavy haul line in the world. 

The efficient design and layout, optimal berthing configuration and ongoing innovation to increase productivity makes Fortescue’s Herb Elliott Port the most efficient bulk port operation in Australia. The port has five operating berths and our current infrastructure  is capable of safely and efficiently exporting in excess of 180mtpa.

The Judith Street Harbour towage infrastructure and our fleet of tugs provide safe and reliable towage services that maximise the efficiency of our operations, while offering competitive third party towage services within the port.

Shipping 

Designed to complement our port infrastructure, the fleet of eight 260,000 tonne capacity Fortescue Ore Carriers deliver approximately 14 per cent of our shipping requirements, while improving load rates and efficiencies and reducing operating costs. Our shipping fleet completes our mine to market
supply chain. 

 

Iron Bridge Magnetite Project 

The US$2.6 billion Iron Bridge Magnetite Project is under development and will deliver 22mtpa of high grade 67% Fe magnetite concentrate product, further enhancing the range of products available to our customers.

Iron Bridge, located 145km south of Port Hedland and incorporating the world class North Star and Glacier Valley Magnetite ore bodies, is an unincorporated joint venture between Fortescue’s subsidiary FMG Iron Bridge and Formosa Steel IB. Baosteel also has an interest in the Project, as a minority shareholder of FMG Iron Bridge. 

The innovative process design, including the use of a dry crushing and grinding circuit, will deliver globally competitive capital intensity and operating costs. 

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Exploration 

Fortescue began as an exploration company and today our iron ore tenements remain key to maintaining mine life and sustaining product quality in our core iron ore business. 

The resources in the Western Hub and Solomon Hub add high iron content, dry, low cost tonnes to our product suite, providing further optionality for the business.

Recent Australian exploration activity has been primarily focused on early stage target generation for copper-gold in the Paterson and Rudall regions in Western Australia, with additional exploration activity underway in New South Wales and South Australia.

 

International footprint 

We recognise that early stage exploration can unlock significant value and our world class exploration capability is driving future growth as we target global opportunities and commodities that support decarbonisation and electrification of the transport sector.

Fortescue has a well-established presence in Ecuador, where we have concessions prospective for copper in exploration phase covering 135,000 hectares and in Argentina we currently hold 450,000 hectares of tenements, prospective for copper-gold. 

We are also assessing exploration and development opportunities in Colombia, Chile and Peru, as well as Portugal and Kazakhstan.