Australian contract miner Macmahon Holdings Ltd. reported recently that it had been awarded the largest single mining contract in its history.

The company secured an A$1.8-billion contract to provide open-cut mining services for the Christmas Creek mine expansion under way by iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group. Macmahon said the contract brought its mining order book to a record $3.6 billion.

Macmahon CEO Ross Carroll said the five-year contract for the Christmas Creek operation in the Pilbara region of Western Australia was significant as the company focused its future on the mining sector.  “This is an exciting project that builds on the existing success of our surface mining operations, securing a stronger foundation for the company’s mining focused business over the next five years,” he said. “Macmahon has a long history of successfully delivering mining projects in the Pilbara and this project further expands the company’s presence in the region.”

The contract, according to Macmahon, encompasses all aspects of mine operations including drill and blast, overburden removal, ore harvesting, maintenance of equipment and associated services. It will involve the movement of approximately 300 million bank cubic meters of iron ore and associated overburden material.

Since commencing mobilization to site under a limited notice to proceed, Macmahon said it has recruited about 600 people for the project, with more than 500 employees already mobilized to site.

The company said mining activities have begun, with the development of on-site infrastructure under way and the mining of overburden, harvesting and drilling also in progress.

Macmahon will operate and maintain the fleet, most of which will be supplied by the client. The fleet includes large scale equipment including 400- and 600-mt-class excavators, 190- to 300-mt-capacity haul trucks, wheel loaders, drills and associated support equipment.

The capital requirements are expected to total approximately $30 million during the term of the contract. The company said it recently completed a successful equity raising to support these requirements.