Arrium Mining reopens Iron Baron in Middleback Ranges

19/09/2012

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Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy Tom Koutsantonis today officially reopened Arrium Mining's Iron Baron iron ore mine in South Australia's Middleback Ranges near Whyalla.

Mr Koutsantonis said the historic reopening of the Iron Baron mine will provide 100 new jobs and support a range of businesses across the Upper Spencer Gulf region.

"Local suppliers were instrumental in the development with many Whyalla-based companies subcontracted to perform numerous aspects of the work," Mr Koutsantonis said.

"At full capacity, Iron Baron is expected to contribute about 2 million tonnes of haematite per year - close to a third of existing annual export haematite volumes from Whyalla.

"That's enough iron ore to fill a Cape-size vessel every month."

Arrium Mining Chief Executive Greg Waters said the new-look operations represented a significant investment, particularly through the construction of a new Ore Beneficiation Plant and crushing and screening facilities.

"These operations form part of a $400 million program to extend our iron ore reserves for at least the next 10 years," he said.

"This reopening is therefore a significant step in increasing the life of our mining operations and great news for not only Arrium Mining, but also Whyalla and the State.

"This is also part of a larger investment throughout South Australia incorporating the Middleback Ranges operations, our Southern Iron operations near Coober Pedy, and the ongoing Whyalla Port Expansion Project.

"All of this will see our mining footprint grow substantially from six million tonnes per year to 11 million tonnes per year by mid-2013, and our mining workforce significantly increasing to about 2000 people."

Mr Koutsantonis congratulated Arrium Mining for its ongoing investment in South Australia that will continue to underpin the economy and regional development in the Upper Spencer Gulf.

"Arrium Mining has shown foresight and a long-term commitment to South Australia with Project Magnet boosting iron ore exports from Whyalla," he said.

"The company has also sought development approval to upgrade its port facilities at Whyalla so that it can handle the planned increase in export volumes.

"These investments are helping South Australia reach its strategic targets for exports and mineral resource production."

The reopening of Iron Baron is the latest chapter in Arrium Mining's haematite extension program that aims to extend the life of its operation in the Middleback Ranges.

"New technology has provided an opportunity to review the iron ore assets that were originally worked last century and adopt more efficient practices to extract the haematite," he said.

"Reworking an old mine in a new century delivers a number of environmental positives.

"For example, tailings will be put into existing pits to minimise the environmental footprint and plans are in place to rehabilitate the mine landscape in keeping with the local amenity."