Xstrata Copper is planning to export the first shipment of magnetite concentrate to Asia, from its A$79m (US$84m) magnetite project at Ernest Henry Mining in Queensland, Australia.

The export of magnetite concentrate will help Xstrata in its plan to transform the Ernest Henry Mine into a major underground copper-gold operation, scheduled to commence in the third quarter of this year.

The magnetite concentrate will be stockpiled at EHM and transported by road to a storage and rail load-out facility near Cloncurry, and then by rail to Xstrata Copper’s port facility at Townsville.

Xstrata Copper North Queensland COO Steve de Kruijff said magnetite processing and export is part of sustaining Xstrata Copper’s operations in North Queensland, helping extend the life of the Ernest Henry Mine to at least 2024.