Fortescue Metals Group has turned the first sod of the Eliwana Mine and Rail project in Western Australia.
At the official ceremony, Fortescue’s Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, announced the awarding of contracts to Aboriginal-owned businesses for the catering, administration and general village services at the Eliwana fly camp which follows the contracts awarded of early mine earthworks and access and enabling earthworks to support the Eliwana Rail development.
Ms Gaines said Fortescue aims to first and foremost create economic opportunities and contribute to thriving local communities. The Eliwana development, a US$1.275 billion project will create up to 1,900 jobs during construction and 500 full-time site positions once operational.
Contracts to the value of A$330 million to date have been awarded to more than 250 Australian business entities as part of the development, of which 80 per cent are Western Australian owned businesses. As further approvals are progressed, it is expected over A$500million in additional contracts will be awarded by the end of 2019.
“The business opportunities are also substantial. We’re proud to be working with local businesses on the steel fabrication of key pieces of infrastructure and we are committed to supporting Aboriginal and WA businesses, as we have always done,” Ms Gaines said.
The structural steel fabrication of the overland conveyor, stockyard and train loadout facility, and rail bridge girders will occur within Western Australia. Further steel fabrication work is anticipated to be awarded to local businesses in the coming months.
During FY18, Fortescue’s Board of Directors approved the development of the Eliwana mine and rail project.
With an estimated capital cost of US$1.275bn, the development consists of 143km of rail and a new 30mtpa dry OPF. The project underpins the introduction of a 60% iron grade product and will maintain Fortescue’s low cost status, providing greater flexibility, while maintaining a minimum 170 million tonnes per annum production rate over 20 years.