Daily Newsletter

20 June 2024

Daily Newsletter

20 June 2024

MinRes to shut Yilgarn iron ore operations, impacting 1,000 jobs

Reasons for the closure include limited remaining life of operating mines and substantial capital costs to develop new resources.

Umesh Ellichipuram June 20 2024

Australian Seurities Exchange (ASX)-listed Mineral Resources (MinRes) has announced the closure of its Yilgarn iron ore hub in Western Australia's Goldfields region by 31 December 2024, citing that the operations are not financially feasible.

The company said it has made this decision after a thorough assessment, concluding that the Yilgarn Hub's operations are not financially sustainable beyond the end of 2024.

Factors contributing to the closure include the limited remaining mine life across five operating mines over a 220km stretch and the substantial capital costs and lead time needed to develop new resources.

The decision will affect around 1,000 employees, with the company committing to explore redeployment opportunities within its various operations.

MinRes has identified nearly 800 vacancies across its business, with expectations of additional openings in the near future, particularly with the development of the Onslow Iron project.

The Yilgarn Hub will begin a phased ramp-down over the next six months, with an estimated four million wet metric tonnes (wmt) to be shipped by year's end.

Mining activities will then enter a care and maintenance phase, starting in early 2025.

The company has also planned for the redeployment of its fleet, consisting of five diggers, 28 trucks and 25 pieces of ancillary equipment, across its other business segments.

During the wind-down period, MinRes will evaluate future prospects for the Yilgarn Hub assets, which may include rehabilitation or disposal.

Despite the closure, exploration drilling and environmental studies targeting hematite and magnetite will persist into 2025.

The company said that the move is in line with its strategy to shift its iron ore operations towards more long-term and low-cost projects including Onslow Iron, which has recently completed its inaugural shipment.

MinRes managing director Chris Ellison said: “This prudent but difficult decision was not taken lightly and follows years of investment to extend the life of our operations in the Yilgarn.

“With our investment across Western Australia, we have almost 800 vacancies and will redeploy as many of our people as possible to other MinRes operations, including to our low-cost, long-life Onslow Iron project.

“MinRes has operated in the region since our maiden shipment from Carina in 2011. In 2018, with the support of the WA Government, we stepped in to save hundreds of Western Australian jobs at Koolyanobbing that were set to be lost with the departure of Cliffs.

“By the end of this year, we will have operated Koolyanobbing for six-and-a-half years, exported almost 45 million tonnes via the Port of Esperance and spent $4.2bn running our Yilgarn operation, exceeding our commitments.”

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