In mid-December 2010, prior to the announcement of its planned acquisition of Consolidated Thompson, Cliffs announced all Australian Commonwealth and State governmental approvals had been finalized for it to mine the Mt. Jackson J1 iron ore deposit at its Koolyanobbing complex in Western Australia.

The deposit is an extension of Cliffs’ existing Koolyanobbing deposits and contains an estimated 30 million mt of iron ore reserves at an approximate grade of 60% iron. It took the company over two years to complete obligatory environmental, mining and aboriginal heritages approvals.

Mining of the Mt. Jackson J1 deposit will contribute to an expansion of Koolyanobbing production from 8.5 million to 11 million mt/y that Cliffs announced in September 2010. Cliffs has budgeted A$320 million for the project, which will include enhancements to the existing rail infrastructure, an increase in rolling stock, and upgrades to various other 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.