BHP Billiton approved a $822 million (BHP Billiton share US$698 million) investment for the development of its Orebody 24 mine, located approximately 10 km north-east of Newman, Western Australia. Orebody 24 is a sustaining mine to maintain iron ore production output from the Newman Joint Venture operations.

The new Orebody 24 mine will have a capacity of 17 million metric tons per year (mt/y) and will include the construction of an ore crushing plant, train loadout facility, rail spur and other associated support facilities.

Initial mining from Orebody 24 will start in the second half of 2012. “The Orebody 24 development is consistent with our strategy to invest in high quality, expandable resource basins and highlights the benefits of our ability to leverage existing infrastructure to sustain current production,” said Ian Ashby, president, BHP Billiton Iron Ore.