BHP has commenced construction on its A$4.88bn ($3.61bn) South Flank iron ore project in the Pilbara region of Western Australia (WA) after receiving approval from the state government.
The company will develop an 80 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) mine at South Flank to replace production from the Yandi mine, which is expected to reach the end of its mine life by the mid-2020s.
The project, which is designed to expand on the existing Mining Area C hub, is being developed in collaboration with joint venture partners Mitsui and Itochu.
BHP is expected to provide jobs to more than 3,000 workers during the development of the mine, with around 2,500 jobs during the peak construction phase, as well as over 600 new operational roles.
The company aims to initially produce ore from the South Flank project in 2021, with ramp-up set to coincide with ramp-down of the Yandi mine.
WA Premier Mark McGowan said: “This project is a positive injection into Western Australia in terms of improving business confidence and benefiting the state’s economy.
“BHP’s decision, with its joint venture partners, to go ahead with the South Flank project is testimony that Western Australia is a secure and attractive place to invest.”
The South Flank project is projected to produce ore for more than 25 years.
Earlier this month, BHP awarded a $129.85m contract to NRW to carry out bulk earthworks and concrete works at the project.