BHP marks official opening of South Flank

BHP has today marked the official opening of its new South Flank mine in Western Australia, at a celebratory event in the Pilbara attended by Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan, Banjima Traditional Owners and joint venture partners, ITOCHU and Mitsui.

More than 100 Banjima Traditional Owners attended the event, which included traditional cooking, music, and dancing during a luncheon to celebrate Indigenous culture.

South Flank is Australia’s largest new iron ore mine in over 50 years and has been delivered safely on time and on budget. When fully operational it will produce 80 million tonnes of premium iron ore per annum, and together with the existing Mining Area C will form the largest operating iron ore hub in the world, producing 145 million tonnes of iron ore each year.

The US$3.6 billion South Flank development created 9000 direct and indirect jobs during construction and will sustain more than 600 permanent ongoing jobs. South Flank’s workforce is diverse and highly skilled, with 40 per cent female and 15 per cent Indigenous operational staff.

BHP has already awarded more than A$4.6 billion of works for South Flank, including 78 per cent to Australian businesses, 41 per cent to WA businesses and 37 per cent committed in the Pilbara region.

BHP Western Australia Iron Ore Asset President, Brandon Craig said: “Today we are celebrating the successful delivery of South Flank with the Banjima, Government of Western Australia and our joint venture partners, ITOCHU and Mitsui. Their support has been and remains critical to our business, and we are grateful to them and for the strong and longstanding relationships we share.

“We honour and respect Banjima people and elders, past and present, and look forward to working with them in building a future that will bring benefits to all our partners and all of Western Australia.

“South Flank is BHP’s most technically advanced mine and creates the largest iron ore hub in the world. It will sustain more than 600 ongoing jobs, plus opportunities for hundreds of local businesses and billions of dollars in royalties to Western Australia.

“South Flank’s product has high lump content and increases the quality of BHP’s blended products for steelmaking customers, improving blast furnace efficiency and supporting decarbonisation efforts. South Flank’s premium iron ore will be shipped to global steel producers to build electricity, transport and urban infrastructure around the world over the next 25 years.”

Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan said: “Congratulations to BHP and everyone who has been involved in delivering the South Flank project.
“I’m pleased WA now has such a high-quality iron ore mine using cutting edge technology, which has supported thousands of jobs and numerous businesses in the making.

“It’s investments like these that highlight our state’s position as a secure and attractive place to invest.

“Even during the height of the pandemic, this project still proceeded with construction and production because WA’s resources sector was able to stay open and that has supported the local, state and national economy.”

South Flank’s high quality ore will increase WAIO’s average iron ore grade from 61 to 62 per cent, and the overall proportion of lump from 25 to 30-33 per cent.