Fortescue Metals’ Western Australia mine
As part of a $9.2 billion investment to reach annual production capacity of 155 million mt of ore from Fortescue Metals’ Western Australia mines, the newly opened Kings Valley project, pictured here, will add 40 million mt/y of iron ore to the company’s Pilbara production. (Photo courtesy of Fortescue Metals Group)

Fortescue Metals officially opened the 40-million-mt/y Kings Valley project at its Solomon iron-ore hub in Western Australia on March 28, lifting the company’s iron-ore production capacity to its long-held target of 155 million metric tons per year (mt/y).

The $9.2 billion expansion included construction of the greenfields Solomon hub, comprising Kings Valley and the nearby 20-million-mt/y Firetail mine; an expansion of the Christmas Creek mine to 50 million mt/y; and major extensions of Fortescue’s port and rail facilities.

The Channel Iron Deposit (CID) ore produced from Kings Valley will become a new stand-alone Fortescue product. Firetail ore is blended with ores from Fortescue’s Chichester hub to produce its Fortescue Blend.

Firetail and Kings Valley are separated by a distance of 5 km. Associated infrastructure includes two ore processing facilities, crushing hubs, 15 km of overland conveyors, and a stockyard and train load-out facility. Fortescue formally opened the 20-million-mt/y Firetail mine in early May 2013.