John Holland wins Rio Tinto’s Cape Lambert wharf contract

 John Holland has won a $186 million contract to extend Rio Tinto iron ore's Cape Lambert B wharf.

According to the company the project will extend the wharf already being built by John Holland, and while provide an extra two berths at Rio's Cape Lambert Port B.

The award is part of Rio Tinto's wider expansion in the Pilbara, where it plans to increase its annual capacity to 353 million tonnes per annum.

It was part of the miner's wider $4.2 billion investment to grow its iron projects globally.

According to former Rio Tinto chief executive Tom Albanese the company was "directing investment to projects that will generate the most attractive returns for shareholders and are resilient under any probable macroeconomic scenario.

"Our Pilbara iron ore business has one of the highest margins in the industry," Albanese explained.

He went on to say that it "is in line with our long-held strategy of investing in and operating long-life, low-cost, tier one assets, and consistent with our view of the economic outlook".

John Holland will work closely with Leighton Asia in the project.

Glenn Palin, John Holland's MD, added that the project will feature innovative environmental concepts.

"In early 2012, the Cape Lambert project trialled a "sponge jet" blasting and recovery system in place of a more conventional garnet abrasive blasting unit. This absorbs particles and prevents them from becoming airborne over water at the site," he explained.

"This vastly reduces dust levels and significantly cuts any risk of contamination."

The company's project team is currently delivering the first stage of the project.

It is employing 22 indigenous workers on site, which represents around 6% of the total workforce, although it is planning to increase this number.

Iron ore exports expand in Esperance

The Port of Esperance is set to receive a new multi-user iron ore export facility adding 10 to 12 million tonnes of capacity per year.

The West Australian Government has given the go-ahead for the development of a new iron ore facility.

The expansion of the port is good news for Gold West Resources (GWR) who is looking to expand the development of iron ore projects in the region.

“The Planned scale of the Port’s expansion and the time-frame to deliver a multi-user iron ore facility by early 2015 gives us the confidence to now accelerate the development of the Wiluna West Iron project,” GWR executive general manager Craig Ferrier said.

GWR announced last year that it had entered into a capacity reservation deed with The Esperance Port Authority (EPSL) for the reservation of 3 million tonnes per annum capacity as part of new facilities to be constructed.

The development of a multi-user iron ore export facility at Esperance will underpin the development options for transport of ore from mine to ship.

The port is linked by rail through Kalgoorlie to Leonora. Trucking operations would then use a relatively short section of the unsealed Ulalla Road linking the mine to the fully sealed Goldfields Highway from Wiluna to Leonora.

EPSL have invited the private sector to participate in a registration of interest after it found it would be commercially viable to develop a facility for an additional 10 to 12 million tonnes a year.

A market sounding exercise carried out by EPSL found that iron ore production in the region could grow significantly in the next 10-15 years.

Construction of the new facility is expected to begin in early 2014.

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