Cliffs Natural Resources is proceeding with an A$320-million capital project at its Koolyanobbing iron ore complex in Western Australia that will allow production to increase to about 11 million mt/y. The improvements will consist of enhancements to the existing rail infrastructure, an increase in rolling stock, and upgrades to various other existing operational constraints. Cliffs anticipates the capital for the project will be spent over the next two years, with the bulk of the spending occurring in 2011. Cliffs expects the improvements to be fully implemented in the second half of 2012.
The Koolyanobbing operations are located 250 miles east of Perth and approximately 30 miles northeast of the town of Southern Cross. Koolyanobbing produces lump and fines iron ore. An expansion program completed in 2006 increased capacity from 6 million to 8 million mt/y. Over the past five years, production has ranged between 5.8 million and 8.3 million mt/y.
All of the ore mined at Koolyanobbing is transported by rail to the Port of Esperance, 350 miles to the south, for shipment to Asian customers.