Karara Mining has selected mining and civil contractor NRW to provide mining services at the Karara iron ore mine in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia.

The contractor has received Karara’s letter of intent to award the $526m (A$702m) contract for the mining services works.

Subject to the signing of the agreement between the two firms, the five-year contract is expected to employ approximately 250 people.

The contract would include load and haul, drill and blast, and run-of-mine (ROM) re-handling. The work is planned to be carried out by NRW’s wholly owned subsidiary, Action Drill & Blast.

The scope of work also includes train loading and rehandling of the product stockpiles, as well as miscellaneous day works at the mine-site, camp and access roads.

NRW CEO Jules Pemberton said: “With a strong local presence in the area through our Geraldton-based DIAB Engineering business and our mining contract with Gascoyne Resources at the Dalgaranga mine site, we look forward to continuing to support the existing and highly experienced workforce on-site through this transition, as well as creating employment opportunities for the Gascoyne region community.”

NRW plans to start work on the site in March 2022.

Karara CEO Changjiang Zhu said: “NRW is an established West Australia-based mining and civil contractor with extensive open-cut mining experience gained through a number of successful mining operations in the state.

“Offering new prime equipment, NRW has the capability to undertake the entire Karara scope of work comprising a broad range of mining, construction and engineering services.”

Claimed to be the largest mining operation in the Mid-West, the Karara mine is located 200km south-east of Geraldton in the Shire of Perenjori.

The magnetite mine, which has an anticipated mine life of more than 30 years, produces a premium, high-grade concentrate product for export to steelmakers.

The project involves a large open-pit mine, a complex ore processing and beneficiation plant, in addition to infrastructure and logistics networks.