By Vittorio Hernandez | September 25, 2013 9:20 AM EST
South Australia is targeting to increase by eight times its iron ore exports through the development of the $5-billion Braemar Bulk Export Project.
The venture aims to link upper Spencer Gulf to iron ore resources in the state’s north-east, including four underground iron ore slurry pipelines, roads, a power transmission network, fibre optic communications and four water pipelines.
Besides these infrastructures, there is also a proposed floating processing storage and offloading facility in Spencer Gulf, located four kilometers from the coast. With these facilities, the corridor would make available low-cost high-volume export solution to ferry iron ore to the port, said SA Infrastructure and Mineral Resources Minister Tom Koutsantonis.
The minister said that the project, when fully developed, has the potential to boost SA’s iron ore concentrate export to over 100 million tonnes annually from 12 million.
The project was given major development status.
However, a potential barrier that the project proponents would have to hurdle is that the corridor would pass through pastoral land and would need to install slurry pipelines to move the ore.
“It will be up to the people proposing the project to make arrangement for access to relevant land, but this is the approval process so we’re now going to go through an environmental impact process and various other processes to make sure this is an appropriate project to get a final sign-off,” said SA Deputy Premier and Planning Minister John Rau.
When I read this announcement of $5 billion of expenditure on an infrastructure corridor for conveying iron ore to Whyalla on the Spencer Gulf, I presumed that it would benefit South Australia’s premier iron ore miner Arrium Limited. Arrium has two iron-ore mines:
- the larger being in the Middleback Ranges of the Eyre Peninsula close to Whyalla. It has been producing iron ore for over 100 years.
- their other mine, surprisingly named Southern Iron, is actually located near Coober Pedy in the North of South Australia. This mine was acquired in 2011 from WPG Resources, the main asset being a high-grade haematite deposit at Peculiar Knob. There are other development projects (Buzzard, Tui, and Hawk’s Nest) as well, that are anticipated to boost Arrium’s production to near 12 million tonnes per annum.
The New Braemar Alliance.
In fact this expenditure is for the benefit of a consortium of iron-ore explorers. The Braemar Iron Formation stretches 250 km from Peterborough in South Australia’s mid-North to Broken Hill in New South Wales, and is regarded as Australia‘s next major iron ore region. Spokesman Andrew Woskett sees potential for 20-40 billion tonnes of mineable deposits containing magnetite. So far only Carpentaria and Royal have JORC resource estimates.
The Alliance includes ASX listed companies:
- Carpentaria Exploration
- Havilah Resources
- Minotaur Exploration,
- Royal Resources,
and privately listed companies:
- Sinosteel PepinNini Curnamona Management,
- Bonython Metals Group,
- Wentworth Metal Group.
This infrastructure expenditure is to provide access to the deep Spencer Gulf Port at Whyalla, and to meet the needs for power, water and transport.
In the short-term the Alliance is working with the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy (SACOME) to coördinate development with help from the South Australian,, NSW and Federal governments.
Iron is the second most abundant metal on earth, after aluminium. There is no problem in finding deposits.The difficulty is in marrying eventual production to global requirements. The Braemar Alliance may be a competitor to Arrium for supportive infrastructure funding, but is a long way off from being a rival producer. The deposit reinforces South Australia’s standing as a long-term producer.
- Major mining development planned for SA (bigpondnews.com)
- Major mining development planned for SA (news.com.au)
- What infrastructure facilities does SA’s mining industry need most urgently? (informaaustralia.wordpress.com)
- South Australia emerges as global force in mining (informaaustralia.wordpress.com)
- Braemar iron ore mining and export plan given SA major project status (abc.net.au)
- Premier praises return to manufacturing roots (yes2renewables.org)
- Spencer Gulf cuttlefish decline continues, but at slowing rate (abc.net.au)
- Slurry pipeline welcomed but not essential (abc.net.au)
- Cross-border iron ore province seen as win-win (abc.net.au)
- Iron Ore (infominingmachine.wordpress.com)