FORTESCUE Metals Group will be able to ship an additional 35 million tonnes per annum of iron ore through Port Hedland after securing the green light from regulators.

Fortescue announced this morning (4 September) it has received approval under the West Australian Environmental Protection Act 1986, to increase the material handling capacity of its Herb Elliott Port facility from 175 mtpa to 210mtpa on a staged basis. This includes provisions for 188mtpa of hematite ore and 22mtpa of magnetite concentrate.

The high-grade magnetite product will be produced from the Iron Bridge Magnetite operations now under development, with first ore on ship scheduled for mid-2022.

The revised licence utilises the capacity of Fortescue’s existing port infrastructure, comprising five berths and three ship loaders, and supports the company’s FY21 iron ore shipments guidance of 175mt-180mt.

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CEO Elizabeth Gaines said Fortescue’s port operations were world-leading and Fortescue had continually demonstrated capacity to optimise efficiency and productivity in delivery of ore to customers.

Fortescue is investing US$2.6 billion in the Iron Bridge project, which will deliver 22mtpa of high-grade magnetite product. Ms Gaines said Fortescue maintains a high level of vigilance over its management of dust in Port Hedland, with installation and implementation of additional controls ensuring no net increase in dust emissions as a result of the progressive increase in throughput capacity at Herb Elliott Port.

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