Fluor Corp. has erected the first 1,500 tons of modules at BHP’s South Flank ore handling plant. The company said the “milestone” was a critical step to first ore and follows the announcement in October of the project meeting 50% completion.

Fluor is providing engineering, procurement and construction management services on South Flank, which is located in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia.

When operational, South Flank will be one of the largest iron ore processing hubs in the world. The project will include an 80-million-ton-per-year (t/y) crushing and screening plant, an overland conveyor system and rail-loading facilities.

South Flank engineering and procurement work is being performed from BHP’s office in Perth, with Fluor working together with BHP as an integrated project team.

“We are extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish with BHP on this project including our commitment to achieve diversity through the hiring of indigenous and local team members,” said Tony Morgan, president of Fluor’s Mining and Metals business. “The pioneering integrated team approach on this project is truly a collaborative effort. We look forward to continuing our long and successful relationship with BHP on this project and beyond.”

“The project team has worked extremely hard to get the project to this position,” said Richard Gerspacher, project director. “Based on the project routines and culture we’ve created, I am confident that the project will continue to proceed in a positive manner as we work towards first ore.”

Fluor previously performed the feasibility study for the project before it was awarded the follow-on construction and project management scope. Over the life of the project, it is expected that more than 9,000 people will be engaged in the South Flank work force. Construction began in July 2018, and first production of iron ore is anticipated in 2021.