Overland conveyor to deliver productivity improvements 

Fortescue Metals Group will trial an innovative, relocatable overland conveyor at its Cloudbreak mine as part of its 2018 financial year innovation drive.

The conveyor, which will occur alongside the expansion of autonomous haulage technology at the company’s Solomon Hub and the roll-out of the same technology at its Chichester Hub, is part of Fortescue’s assessment of options to replace the output from its small but integral Firetail deposit.

Firetail’s high-grade ore and lower mining cost have helped FMG lower operating costs significantly over the past few years, but the company will need to find a replacement ore source over the coming years.

The trial of the conveyor comes as FMG’s iron ore rivals ramp up the use of similar technology.

A total of 68km of conveyor belts is used to move ore at Vale’s massive S11D complex in Brazil, opened last December, as part of the mine’s truckless system, which Vale estimates will cut fuel costs by as much as 70 per cent.

Closer to home, Rio Tinto last year contracted RCR Resources to construct 9km of overland conveyors at its Silvergrass mine in the Pilbara.

In central Queensland earlier this year, the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance announced a US$204 (A$266) million investment in an 11km overland conveyor system between its Peak Downs coal mine and its coal handling preparation plant at the nearby Caval Ridge mine.

Fortescue said its conveyor, together with the expansion of its autonomous haulage technology, would deliver sustained productivity improvements across the business by lowering haulage costs to offset rising strip ratios.

Benefits will be partially delivered in FY18, and fully during the following financial years.

“Fortescue is continuing to introduce leading-edge technology across our business to ensure it remains at the lowest end of the global cost curve,” FMG Chief Executive Officer Nev Power said.

“Our focus remains on improving safety and increasing productivity and efficiency to deliver ongoing cost reductions.

“These projects will encompass technological advancement, workforce skills development and collaboration with our suppliers to harness the best ideas and position Fortescue strongly for the future.”

latest news

Ironbark to make $200m a year from zinc play

  Sitting in Perth, it is easy to become blasé about the entrepreneurship of Australia’s, and particularly Western Australia’s junior mining sector.

Read more

Podium to list platinum assets in W.A

Perth-based exploration company Podium Minerals is aiming to expedite the development of its very interesting looking, shallow, Parks Reef platinum group prospect at the Weld Range project in W.A by listing on the ASX next month.

Read more

Wheels in motion for SW lithium operation

Key stakeholders were in attendance at a meeting on Thursday to hear a presentation from Netherlands company Albermarle on the construction of a lithium smelter in the region.

Read more

Rio Tinto result expected bonanza

Rio Tinto has met its full-year iron ore shipping guidance of 330Mt for 2017 after exporting a record 90Mt from its Pilbara operations in the December quarter.

Read more

Tungsten Mining makes new appointment

Tungsten Mining has appointed Tan Sri Dato Tien Seng Law to the Board as a Non-executive Director and Deputy Chairman. 

Read more

WA miner Kimberley Diamonds faces scrutiny

Failed WA and African miner Kimberley Diamonds is facing scrutiny over the collapse of its last mine in Botswana, with the country’s Government waging a legal battle over ownership of US$3.3 ($4.15) million in diamonds.

Read more


industry insight

The far reach of battery tech

Not that long ago it was described as ‘flying under the radar’, but as the electric vehicle (EV)

Products & Technology

Revolutionising In-Pit Dewatering

People & Projects

Contract win spurs Pacific Industrial Company 

Occupational safety & health

Organic growth spurs safety app success 


All work, all play for Sentient

A first person shooter first helped Sentient Computing realise the potential of video game technology.

Read more