Fortescue Metals Group is set to invest around $287m to develop the Queens Valley mining area at its Solomon Hub in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The company said that the development is part of its plan to boost margins through higher grade products.

The development project is set to maintain production of the low-alumina Kings Fines product.

Fortescue Metals Group CEO Elizabeth Gaines said: “Fortescue’s integrated operations and marketing strategy defines a product portfolio that maximises value from the Fortescue orebodies over the long term, ensuring the continued delivery of returns to shareholders.

“The Queens mining area development will maintain our highly valued Kings Fines low-alumina sinter fines product which supplies Fortescue’s key customers in China as well as in Japan and Korea.”

Located around 15km from the Kings ore processing facility (OPF), the Queens development has an expected life between 10 and 15 years.

As part of the Queens development, which has all environmental and heritage approvals in place, Fortescue will construct a new hydraulic barrier wall in accordance with environmental approvals.

Additionally, the development will include the relocation of the Solomon mobile maintenance facilities closer to the Queen’s operation to minimise travel distances and operating costs.

This would also provide access to additional tonnes in the surroundings of Kings OPF.

Last month, Fortescue’s unit FMG Magnetite and its joint venture partner Formosa Steel IB 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.