WAIO achieved record production in FY2018, supported by record production at Jimblebar and Mining Area C, and improved rail reliability. WAIO has also recorded ongoing productivity improvements, such as the development of a rail-scheduling tool that continually learns and applies new algorithms to optimise rail movements. WAIO has adopted a manufacturing mindset
to lower operational costs through improved truck availability and fuel consumption, increased equipment reliability and extended equipment life.
The Jimblebar truck fleet became fully autonomous in November 2017. The autonomous fleet reduces people exposure to hazardous environments, saves time and allows for greater accuracy.
In February 2018, BHP received approval to amend its environmental licence to increase capacity at its Port Hedland operations to 290 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa).
On 14 June 2018, the BHP Board approved US$2.9 billion in capital expenditure for the development of the new South Flank project. This is in addition to BHP’s pre-commitment funding of US$184 million, which was approved in June 2017. South Flank will fully replace production from the 80 Mtpa (100 per cent basis) Yandi Mine, with first ore targeted in the CY2021. It will contribute
to an increase in WAIO’s average iron grade from 61 per cent to 62 per cent, and the overall proportion of lump from 25 per cent to approximately 35 per cent.