Atlas Iron is proceeding with development of the Mount Webber iron ore project 230 km via road south-southeast of Port Hedland, Western Australia. The direct shipping ore project spans property owned by Atlas (70%) and Altura Mining (30%), and an adjoining northern tenement owned 100% by Atlas.
Mount Webber mining operations are scheduled to begin before year-end 2013, with first ore shipments from the second quarter of 2014. The initial production rate will be 3 million mt/y, and initial mine life is estimated at 18 years. Atlas is targeting a second stage of development that would increase production to 6 million mt/y.
Capital cost to develop the project is estimated at A$146 million and is fully funded by cash on hand.
Mount Webber ore initially will be trucked to the Utah Point Port; however, the mine’s production could also comprise part of any future rail agreement.
Atlas Managing Director Ken Brinsden said, “Mount Webber provides us with high-quality, long-life production that will enable us to reach our targeted 12-million-mt/y production rate by the June quarter of 2014. With our Pardoo, Wodgina, and Mount Dove mines in operation, Abydos due to commence soon, and now Mount Webber being developed, Atlas will have delivered five mines in around five years.”
The final decision to mine Mount Webber remained subject to Atlas board approval, regulatory approvals, and the completion of the production joint venture agreement with Altura Mining.