Fortescue Metals Group’s (FMG) unit FMG Magnetite and its joint venture (JV) partner Formosa Steel IB have approved a $2.6bn development for the second stage of the Iron Bridge Magnetite Project.

Located 145km south of Port Hedland, in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, the project is owned through an unincorporated JV between FMG Iron Bridge and Formosa.

The stage two development follows an investment of $500m into the first stage of development, which involved the construction of large scale pilot and demonstration plants.

Fortescue CEO Elizabeth Gaines said: “The Iron Bridge Project holds Australia’s largest JORC-compliant magnetite resource supporting a long mine life.

“The innovative design, including the use of a dry crushing and grinding circuit, will deliver an industry-leading energy efficient operation with globally competitive capital intensity and operating costs.”

With the approval in place, Fortescue is now ready to build the plant and develop the mine.

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By GlobalData

The Iron Bridge Project is expected to deliver a product with 67% iron content, and will increase Fortescue’s average product grade when combined with the Eliwana development.

Fortescue will manage and operate the project with full marketing rights.

Upon achieving full operational capacity, the Iron Bridge Project will have a production of 22 million wet metric tonnes per annum.

“The Iron Bridge Project holds Australia’s largest JORC-compliant magnetite resource supporting a long mine life.”

The project is expected to provide jobs for about 3,000 people during construction and 900 full-time positions once operations start.

This stage of development will include an ore processing facility, an airstrip and expanded village, a 195km Canning Basin water pipeline and a 135km concentrate pipeline to Fortescue’s Herb Elliot port facility in Port Hedland.

The project is expected to require up to 225MW of power, which is expected to be delivered by low-cost power transmitted from a mix of existing and new generation sources in the Pilbara.