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Perth-based mining services provider Mineral Resources has commenced production at the Wonmunna Iron Ore Mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Production at the mine is planned to be ramped up to reach a five million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) run rate in the June quarter of this year.

The mine has potential for further expansion to increase the output to 10Mtpa, subject to the company securing additional approvals.

Mineral Resources managing director Chris Ellison said: “Wonmunna’s rapid and safe development is testimony to the [Mineral Resources] team’s ability to deliver what others thought impossible. It is the innovative design of our NextGen crushing plants and the agility of our people who make this happen.

“Wonmunna’s development was completed on time and within budget. Once we ramp up Wonmunna to full production, the mine will provide permanent employment for 500 men and women.”

The Wonmunna mine was acquired by Mineral Resources from Australian Aboriginal Mining (AAMC) in 2020.

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Production from the site will be used for Mineral Resources’ Utah Point Hub iron ore blend, which also uses ore from the Iron Valley mine in Western Australia.

With the addition of Wonmunna, Mineral Resources expects to expand the output from the Utah Point export facility at Port Hedland to reach 14Mtpa by the end of the December 2021 quarter.

Ellison added: “This is a great outcome not just for Mineral Resources but also for AAMC’s shareholders, who will shortly receive their first royalty cheque from Wonmunna.”