Officials at Atlas Iron have announced an agreement with joint venture partner Altura Mining to bring its Mount Webber mine in Australia into immediate development with production slated for 2014. The iron ore mine, located 230 km south-southeast of Port Hedland, has already received environmental approval.

Atlas Managing Director Ken Brinsden called it a “key milestone” for the company that “provides us with high quality, long life production,” in addition to ongoing projects in Pardoo, Wodgina and Mount Dove.

Full mining operations will begin in Q4 2013, with first ore shipments following in Q2 2014, targeting an initial rate of 3 million metric tons per year (mt/y) within Atlas’ North Pilbara standard product blend.

With capital development costs of $146 million, the initial mine life is estimated at 18 years at a 3-million-mt/y production rate. During stage two development, Atlas said it will increase production targets to 6 million mt/y.

During first phase development, ore will be trucked to the Utah Point port. Mount Webber mine production, however, could also comprise part of any future rail agreement.