Australian iron ore company Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) has officially opened its Firetail iron ore mine, the first stage of the company's $3.2bn Solomon hub project in Western Australia's Pilbara region.
The Firetail mine, FMG's third mine to open in the last five years, will help the company achieve its ambition to become Asia's leading supplier of iron ore.
Fortescue Metals CEO Nev Power said in a statement that the new iron ore mine will produce 20 million tonnes a year, while the second stage of the Solomon hub project, which involves work on the neighbouring Kings mine, will produce additional 40-million tonnes per year.
"This represents a valuable source of new production from long-life, low-cost mining operations that allow us to blend with Chichester ores to create an enhanced product for our customers - the new Fortescue blend," Power said.
The new iron ore mine is expected to increase the company's production capacity to 115 million tonnes per year, up from 100 million tonnes per year at the end of 2012.
Operations at the Firetail deposit have been underway since 2012, where ancillary inpit crushing is used to produce ore.
Iron ore from the Firetail mine will be mixed with other ores from FMG's Christmas Creek and Cloudbreak mines at Chichester hub in order to produce an improved product called Fortescue blend, which will contain 58.3% iron.
Image: Firetail iron ore mine is the first stage of Solomon hub project, and will produce 20 million tonnes per year. Photo: Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.