BHP Billiton has announced plans for an $822-million (BHP Billiton share $698 million) investment to develop its Orebody 24 mine, located approximately 10 km northeast of Newman, Western Australia. Orebody 24 will be a sustaining mine to maintain iron ore production output from the Newman Joint Venture operations. The new mine will have a capacity of 17 million mt/y and will include construction of an ore crushing plant, train load-out facility, rail spur, and other associated support facilities.

Initial mining from Orebody 24 will start in the second half of calendar year 2012.

BHP Billiton President Iron Ore, Ian Ashby, said, “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.”

BHP Billiton also has announced plans to develop its Yarnima Power Station to secure future power supply for its Western Australia Iron Ore mining operations in the Pilbara. BHP Billiton will build, own and operate the combined cycle gas turbine power station, to be located in Newman, which will deliver 190 MW to replace supply from the existing Newman Power Station. The capital cost of the project is expected to be $597 million (BHP Billiton share $507 million).

The power station will include gas turbines equipped with heat recovery steam generators to capture waste heat for the generation of additional power. This will minimize gas usage while increasing thermal efficiency and reducing carbon emissions. In the event of a gas service interruption, the plant has also been configured to allow normal operations to continue using diesel fuel. Power supply from the project will be available in the first half 2014.

“The Yarnima Power Station will power our existing operations and provide a platform for further mine development,” Ashby said. “By employing state-of-the-art technology, this power station will also increase our carbon efficiency and promote long-term energy sustainability.”