Fortescue has announced the development of the Queens Valley mining area at its Solomon Hub in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Development of Queens will maintain production of the low-alumina Kings Fines product and is consistent with Fortescue’s strategy of optimizing margin through an enhanced product mix.

“Fortescue’s integrated operations and marketing strategy defines a product portfolio that maximizes value from the Fortescue orebodies over the long term, ensuring the continued delivery of returns to shareholders,” Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Gaines said. “The Queens mining area development will maintain our highly valued Kings Fines low-alumina sinter fines product, which supplies Fortescue’s key customers in China as well as in Japan and Korea.”

The Queens development is located approximately 15 kilometers (km) from the Kings ore processing facility (OPF) and has an expected life between 10-15 years, with an initial strip ratio of 1.4, maintaining Fortescue’s low operating cost of production. Environmental and heritage approvals are in place to commence the development of Queens.

Total capital expenditure for the Queens development is estimated to be US$287 million.