BHP says its $US3.6 billion ($5.2 billion) South Flank iron ore replacement project in the Pilbara is more than 55 per cent complete.

The mining giant and its US contractor Fluor are now building the ore-handling facility, erecting the first 1500 tonnes of modules.

BHP’s South Flank Project Director Simon Thomas said 540 workers had completed $110 million worth of steel fabrication work at Kwinana to build the biggest iron ore reclaimer and stackers in the world.

The modules were unloaded yesterday after being shipped to Port Hedland and will be trucked from there to South Flank, 120km north-west of Newman.

The company is also in the process of transporting 35,000 tonnes of mega modules as part of the ore-handling plant and 23km overland conveyor system in the biggest and heaviest haul along the Great Northern Highway from Perth to the Pilbara.

On-site construction on the project’s two primary crushers is also under way.

South Flank will replace 80 million tonnes per annum of production from BHP’s depleting Yandi mine.

Work on the project began in July 2018 with first ore expected in 2021. The project will leverage off existing infrastructure at the adjacent Mining Area C hub.