Fortescue Metals Group’s $1.7 billion Eliwana mine and rail project in Western Australia has turned the first sod, marking the commencement of construction.
The Eliwana project, located 90km west-north-west of Tom Price, is a haematite iron ore mine and is scheduled to produce 30 million tonnes per annum. The project is also expected to create up to 1900 jobs during construction and 500 full-time operational jobs over its more than 20 years of operation.
The project includes 143km of associated rail, linking the Eliwana mine to Fortescue’s existing railway and mining operations at Solomon.
The project has strong local content, with $330 million spent on purchasing goods and services from 257 Australian entities to date, with almost 80 per cent to businesses from Western Australia. This includes 30 major contracts with a value of $1 million or above to Australian entities.
Subject to gaining approvals, more than $500 million in further contracts could be awarded by the end of September 2019.
Structural steel fabrication of the overland conveyor, stockyard and train loadout facility, and rail bridge girders will occur within WA. Further steel fabrication work may be awarded locally in coming months.
Key environmental approvals for the mine site and Stage 2 of the railway are being progressed, with first ore expected in late 2020.
Fortescue was a member of the Premier’s steel fabrication roundtable, which was convened to create more opportunities for local steel fabricating businesses on major projects.
Western Australian Premier, Mark McGowan, said, “I congratulate Fortescue on the start of this important, job-creating project.
“The Eliwana mine and rail project will deliver a significant boost to WA’s economy, with around 2400 jobs in total created for WA workers.
“It’s great to see a strong local content component, with many Western Australian companies awarded contracts to carry out important works, including steel fabrication.
“Eliwana is one of a number of large projects we expect will come online in the next few years, which points to confidence returning to our state’s economy.
“The McGowan Government is working to ensure projects like Eliwana create more opportunities for Western Australians businesses and more jobs for local workers.”