Koodaideri iron ore mine is an open-cut project being developed in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Rio Tinto fully owns and is developing the project, which is set to be one of the biggest iron ore mines in the region.
Mount Bruce Mining and Hamersley Iron, both wholly-owned subsidiaries of Rio Tinto, proposed the development of the Koodaideri mine. The mine is proposed to be developed in two phases with a total estimated investment of A$3.6bn ($2.6bn).
Environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the project was approved in March 2015. Pre-feasibility study was completed in March 2016, while feasibility study is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2018.
Construction of the project is expected to be commenced in 2019, with first production scheduled to begin by the end of 2021. The project is estimated to create 2,000 construction jobs and 600 operational jobs.
The mine is estimated to have an initial throughput rate of 40Mtpa, which will be eventually increased to 70Mtpa in the second phase. It is estimated to have a mine life of more than 30 years.
Koodaideri geology and mineralization
Koodaideri iron ore mine is located approximately 110km from Newman Pilbara region. The deposit lies within the Hamersley Basin, within an existing mining lease named AM70/00252 (ML252SA). It is classified as a bedded iron ore deposit hosted in the Dales Gorge Member of the Archean Brockman Formation.
Mineralization at Koodaideri appears as a Brockman iron deposit, which is high in phosphorus along with a weathering overprint that varies from 2km to 4km in depth below the topographical surface.
Koodaideri iron ore mine reserves
The Koodaideri iron ore mine was estimated to contain 598Mt of proven and probable ore reserves grading 61.9% iron, as of December 2017.
Mining and ore processing
Conventional open-cut method of mining using truck and shovel will be applied at Koodaideri mine. The project area consists of three mine pits, K75W, K58W and K38W respectively, of which the K58W pit is proposed to be mined first, followed by K75W and K38W.
It will use autonomous trucks, trains, and drills as part of Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future program. It will also use integrated advanced mine automation and simulation systems.
Ore will be dry-crushed in-pit before conveying to the 40Mtpa central screen processing facility.
The processed ore will be conveyed to the port of Dampier and Cape Lambert for exporting to customers.
Infrastructure facilities for the Koodaideri iron ore project
Access to the project site during construction is through the Great Northern Highway and then along the Roy Hill Road. A second access road is proposed to be constructed linking the existing Yandicoogina access road to the mine site.
Power supply will be made from the existing Rio Tinto 220kV Juna Downs-Yandicoogina transmission line.
Initial water supply for early works and construction will be sourced from the bore fields located to the east of Koodaideri, along with surrounding bores.
Workers will be accommodated at the new 780-room village camp.
A 166km-long rail line will be constructed to connect the mine with the existing Rio Tinto’s heavy freight rail network.
Carey Mining was awarded the contract to carry out miscellaneous earthworks for the project.
Pindan was awarded an A$45m ($32.5m) contract, in December 2018, to design and develop the 780-room construction village in Pilbara for the Koodaideri iron ore mine.