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Mineral Resources (MinRes) has announced that it will cease iron ore shipments from its Yilgarn Hub by 31 December 2024. 

The decision follows the completion of a comprehensive assessment of the operation’s viability. 

MinRes said that a combination of factors influenced the decision, including the limited remaining mine life across five operating mines spread over 220km, and the significant capital cost and lead time required to develop new resources to ensure continuity of supply. 

The Yilgarn Hub operations are expected to safely ramp down in a staged approach over the remainder of 2024, with up to four million wet metric tonnes expected to be shipped by the end of the 2024. Mining operations are expected to be transitioned into care and maintenance from early 2025. 

MinRes said that approximately 1,000 employees will be impacted by the change and the company will work with them on redeployment opportunities across its other operations, with the Yilgarn Hub team to be prioritised for open positions and retraining. 

MinRes also said that its executive leaders, People team and in-house mental health counsellors will be onsite from 19 June 2024 to speak directly to employees about the change and redeployment process. The decision is also expected to impact contractors, suppliers and those in the supply chain. 

Five digger fleets, including 28 trucks and 25 pieces of ancillary gear, are expected to be redeployed across the business. While ramping down operations, MinRes said it will consider future options for its Yilgarn Hub assets, including rehabilitation or disposal. Exploration drilling and environmental studies focused on hematite and magnetite targets are expected to continue into 2025. 

MinRes said that the decision aligns with the company’s strategy to transition its iron ore business to low-cost, long-life operations, such as Onslow Iron, which recently delivered its first shipment. The company is expected to disclose any financial impacts in its FY24 full-year results. 

MinRes’ Managing Director, Chris Ellison, said, “This prudent but difficult decision was not taken lightly and follows years of investment to extend the life of our operations in the Yilgarn. 

“With our investment across Western Australia, we have almost 800 vacancies and will redeploy as many of our people as possible to other MinRes operations, including to our low-cost, long-life Onslow Iron project. 

“MinRes has operated in the region since our maiden shipment from Carina in 2011. In 2018, with the support of the Western Australian Government, we stepped in to save hundreds of Western Australian jobs at Koolyanobbing that were set to be lost with the departure of Cliffs.  

“By the end of 2024, we will have operated Koolyanobbing for six and a half years, exported almost 45 million tonnes via the Port of Esperance and spent $4.2 billion running our Yilgarn operation, exceeding our commitments. 

“I want to thank everyone whose hard work and dedication over the past 13 years made this challenging operation a great success.” 

Image credit: totajla/ 


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