Roy Hill Holdings took control of its Roy Hill iron-ore project in Western Australia from EPC contractor Samsung C&T on February 1 and is ramping the project up to its designed capacity of 55 million metric tons per year (mt/y). The fully integrated mine, rail and port project is mining a low-phosphorus, Marra Mamba iron-ore deposit 115 km north of Newman, Western Australia. Defined mineralization totals more than 2.2 billion mt of +50% Fe ore, of which 1.2 billion mt will support the currently planned mine life of 17 years.

The Roy Hill mine is a conventional open-pit operation that will mine multiple pits. Mine production will average 272 million mt/y of dry material, which will be reduced to approximately 68 million mt/y of wet feed for the processing plant.

The strip ratio will average just under 4:1, waste and low-grade mineralization to ore. The bulk of the overburden and waste will be dumped back into previously mined pits, helping to minimize haulage distances for waste rock and the footprint of mining activities. Waste dumps will be progressively rehabilitated over the life of the mine.

Up to three pits will be in production at any given time, with each pit being broad and relatively shallow. The deepest pit in the mine plan will extend to a less than 110 m below surface.

Run-of-mine pads and crusher stations will be located in close proximity to each pit. Three crushing stations will be in operation at any given time. Crushed ore will be delivered by overland conveyors to a 250,000-mt coarse ore stockpile that acts as a blending station and a buffer to the processing plant.

The processing plant includes six individual scrubbing, screening and de-sanding circuits. The screening circuits sort the ore into lump and fines products. Lump ore ranges in size from 8 mm to 40 mm, and fines are less than 8 mm. Ore is sampled in automated laboratories at various points within the plant, at sample stations before stockpiling, and at a sample station prior to train loading.

Lump and fines products are conveyed from the plant to separate stockpiles via stacker feed conveyors. Live ore stockyard capacity of lump and fines totals more than 1 million mt.

Lump and fines are reclaimed by a bucket wheel reclaimer at a maximum rate of 14,000 mt/h. Ore is then conveyed to the train load-out facility, which can load a 232-car train in 160 minutes, with normal scheduling calling for loading and dispatch of five trains per day. Train loading is controlled from Roy Hill’s remote operations center in Perth.

Roy Hill owns and operates the 344-km heavy-haul railway. Four passing loops are built into the system, each approximately 3.2 km long and positioned to optimize the cycle times of trains.

Ore is delivered to a dedicated port facility in the Boodarie Industrial Estate south of Port Hedland. The purpose-built facility is capable of receiving, stockpiling, screening, and exporting 55 million mt/y of iron ore and is designed to accommodate possible future expansion. Roy Hill loaded its first shipment of ore for export on December 10, 2015.

Approximately 90% of Roy Hill’s production is already sold under long-term contracts. The company’s Perth-based corporate headquarters and remote operations center provides end-to-end integration of its operations, marketing and corporate services functions.

Hancock Prospecting Pty holds a 70% equity interest in Roy Hill Holdings. The remaining 30% is held by a consortia of Marubeni Corp. (15%), POSCO (12.5%), and China Steel Corp (2.5%). As part of the ownership agreement, the consortia partners will purchase their share of Roy Hill iron ore production, equating to 28.75 million mt/y at full production.

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