Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. subsidiary FMG Magnetite Pty Ltd. and joint-venture partner Formosa Steel IB Pty Ltd. have approved the development of Stage 2 of the Iron Bridge Magnetite Project. It is located 145 kilometers (km) south of Port Hedland and owned through an unincorporated joint venture between FMG Iron Bridge Ltd., which has 69%, and Formosa, which owns 31%. FMG Magnetite Pty Ltd. is a subsidiary of FMG IB, a Hong Kong-registered company owned by Fortescue, 88%, and a subsidiary of Baosteel Resources International Co. Ltd., 12%.

Total Stage 2 capital costs are US$2.6 billion. This Stage 2 development follows the US$0.5 billion investment in the successful Stage 1 construction of large-scale pilot and demonstration plants, which have validated key equipment and magnetite production processes for the full-scale Stage 2 ore processing facility, according to Fortescue.

“The Iron Bridge Project holds Australia’s largest JORC compliant magnetite resource supporting a long mine life,” Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines said. “The successful delivery of the project by the joint-venture partners is underpinned by Fortescue’s unparalleled track record and capability in safely developing and operating major iron ore projects in the Pilbara.”

Gaines said the project is well progressed and ready for detailed design and execution with the majority of key approvals in place. The design includes the use of a dry crushing and grinding circuit.

“Our focus has been to create the most energy and cost-efficient ore processing facility, tailored to the specific ore we will mine,” she added. “We are now ready to build this plant and develop this mine, and are confident that our early work will support rapid progress to full production.”

The Iron Bridge Project will deliver a product with iron content of 67%.

“When combined with the Eliwana development, it will increase Fortescue’s average product grade and provide the ability to deliver the majority of our products at greater than 60% Fe, consistent with our long-term goal,” Gaines said.

Wilfred Wang, standing member of Formosa Plastics Group Executive Management Committee, said, “We believe the premium product from the Iron Bridge Project will be very competitive, particularly as steel mills are now looking to increase productivity. The high-quality product will be able to be used for both sintering and pelletizing and, for Formosa, will increase the options for raw material supply available to its steel mill in Vietnam.”