Hope Downs 4 in WA’s Pilbara region has achieved a significant milestone with the first iron ore leaving the mine.
The Hope Downs iron ore project, which is party mined under a 50:50 joint venture with Rio and Hancock Prospecting, won final approval to develop their $1.12 billion joint venture project in March.
Over the weekend, Gina Rinehart’s daughter Ginia took to the Hancock Prospecting website to announce the maiden train was being loaded with ore.
A photo posted on the notice board sheet of the site declared: "days to first ore on train – 1". She captioned the photo with the line "impending first load out of ore wagons for the new Hope Downs 4 mine".
The west.com reports the first trial load of Hope Downs 4 ore left by rail yesterday.
The new project forms part of Rio Tinto's plans to expand iron ore production in the Pilbara by 353 million tonnes per annum by 2015.
Rio has also flagged expansions at its Cape Lambert port and its Nammuldi mine as part of the expansions.
Earlier this year Rinehart said three deposits within the Hope Downs precinct – Baby Hope, Hope 2, and Hope 5 – were “convenient for early development”.