ENGAGE Marine has successfully begun its new contract providing iron ore transhipment services for Kimberley Metals Group at Wyndham.

The 66,721 DWT bulk carrier African Lion is currently being loaded with exports from the reactivated Ridges Iron Ore Project, located about 165 kilometres south of Wyndham. Processed ore is trucked to KMG’s barge-loading facilities at the Cambridge Gulf-leased-and-operated port.

Recently-acquired tug Engage Outlaw arrived at Dampier 19 April after Singapore refit and on 1 May took the 85-metre, 2620 DWT barge Crest 288 to Wyndham. Engage Outlaw is being assisted by vessels from Broome Tug & Marine, pending the arrival of a second tug, Engage Crusader previously located at Whyalla and now undergoing docking at Brisbane’s The Yard.

The Ridges Iron ore Project began shipments in 2011 but has been subject to fluctuations in demand and price for its low-grade product. After stalling in 2015 when some 6.2 million tonnes had been shipped, new operators later collapsed (March 2020) before further exploration and the introduction of a new beneficiation plant to process lower grades of ore saw the Ridges mine went back into production in mid-2020.

Indus Mining Pty Ltd signed a mining agreement with tenement owner KMG, and then operated the mine as part of a joint venture with Habrok Mining and Ridges Iron Ore Pty Ltd. But the mine was again mothballed in September 2021, after a further 1.7mt had been shipped, when iron ore prices plummeted once more.

Shipping operations were previously handled by Transhipment Services Australia, which provided tugs, barges, pilotage, logistics and project management.