Construction of the South Flank project started in July 2018 and by the end of FY2020 was overall 76 per cent complete.
WAIO achieved record production in FY2020 of 248 million tonnes (Mt) (compared to 238 Mt in FY2019), with higher volumes reflecting record production at Jimblebar and Yandi. Weather impacts from Tropical Cyclone Blake and Tropical Cyclone Damien were offset by strong performance across the supply chain, with significant improvements in productivity and reliability following a series of targeted maintenance programs over the past four years.
We continue to be a low-cost iron ore producer with cost reductions and volume creep enabled through the BHP Operating System, debottlenecking initiatives across the supply chain, and technology and improvements in our maintenance strategies.
WAIO continues to focus on operating safely, implementing a series of preventative measures designed to minimise the spread of COVID-19. To meet border controls introduced by the Western Australian Government, more than 900 employees and contractors in business critical roles have temporarily relocated to Western Australia, including the majority of people in specialist roles who are based interstate, such as train drivers and train load out operators. These employees remain in Western Australia.
In October 2019, BHP submitted an application for a government approval related to Aboriginal heritage sites at our South Flank project under construction in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The approval was granted in May 2020 following extensive consultation with the Traditional Owners, the Banjima people. Nonetheless, consistent with our approach to cultural heritage, BHP confirmed in June 2020 that it would not disturb the sites covered by the approval without further consultation with the Traditional Owners. BHP supports the Western Australian Government’s current process to reform and update its cultural heritage legislation. BHP has made submissions to the Government in support of this reform.