Nearest Landmark: Newman
Distance: 95km north-west of Landmark
Latitude: 22° 44' (South)
Longitude: 119° 13' (East)
Rio Tinto - 100%
Iron ore - 53.7 Mtpa capacity
|Deposit Type||Channel Iron Deposit|
|Reserves & Resources||
Pisolite ore: 220 Mt at 58.7% iron probable (Dec 31, 2011)
Process product: 161 mt at 58.7% iron (Dec 31, 2011)
|Mining Method||Open pit|
|Processing Method||Crushing, Screening|
|Mining Equipment||Trucks (22) & shovels (6)|
|Processing equipment||Crushers, screens|
Hamersley Iron Pty Ltd
Ph: +61 (8) 9327 2000
Last updated: August 16, 2012
Rio Tinto iron ore operations in the Pilbara have an annual capacity of 220 million tonnes, with advanced plans to increase capacity to 283 million tonnes by 2013, on a pathway to 333 million tonnes. With a network of 14 mines, three shipping terminals and the largest privately owned heavy freight rail network in Australia, Rio Tinto's Pilbara operations make up a major part of Rio Tinot's iron ore activities globally. Rio Tinto's operations began in 1966 and are well positioned to meet the growing needs of the world's iron and steel industry.
In the Pilbara, Rio Tinto wholly own Hamersley Iron's eight mines and also operate the Hope Downs mine (50:50 joint venture between Rio Tinto and Hancock Prospecting Pty Limited), the Channar mine (Rio Tinto: 60 per cent) and the Eastern Range mine (Rio Tinto: 54 per cent). Rio Tinto's iron ore operations in the Pilbara also include a 53 per cent interest in Robe River Iron Associates' three mines: Mesa J, Mesa A/Warramboo and West Angelas.
Yandicoogina is an open pit mining operation that commenced production in 1998. it produces the so-called 'Yandicoogina fines'. The iron ore is transported by railway to the Cape Lambert port then shipped to international customers. The railway and port are owned by Hamersley Iron and operated by Pilbara Iron.
Yandicoogina iron ore mining operations are located 95 km north-west of Newman in Western Australia.
The town was built as a company town and has its own airport that facilitates the transfer of its personnel (FIFO). It is also linked by railway to Port Hedland. The world's largest freighttrains are making the journey to the port for shipping the iron ore to international markets.
Climate is arid with very hot summers and mild winters. Precipitation is sparse, but the influx of monsoonal moisture in the summer, which generally begins in December and lasts until March, raises humidity levels and can cause heavy precipitation.
The Pilbara region is located in the northwest of Western Australia, approximately 1,100km north of Perth. The region contains the 80,000 square km Hamersley Iron Province. The geology of the Province is characterized by a 2,500 million years old group of late Archaean and early Proterozoic rock formations known as the Hamersley Group.
The Hamersley Group was formed by chemical sedimentation of minerals in a marine (ocean) environment. The processes which formed the Hamersley Group occurred after volcanic activity introduced basalt rocks in the area. Sedimentary rocks like sandstones also occur in the group due to weathering and transportation of rocks which occurred during the period when the Hamersley Group was formed.
The Hamersley Group is approximately 2.5km thick. It contains several large units of Banded Iron Formation (BIF): rock with bands of iron minerals (magnetite and hematite) and gangue minerals (mostly carbonates, silicates and chert). Typically, unenriched BIF contains about 30 per cent iron by weight.
The BIF layers have been deformed by geological processes, and eroded by weathering resulting in the geological formations that we see today.
Where Banded Iron Formations (BIFs) had been enriched by natural processes, these zones can become Bedded Iron Deposits. Many of the commercially important iron ore deposits in the Pilbara were formed by natural enrichment of BIF. These enriched deposits include the commercially viable ores in the Brockman and Marra Mamba Iron Formations.
In the Pilbara, other types of ore deposit exist, notably Channel Iron Deposits, but these are derived from the original bedded iron formations.Yandicoogina is a Channel Iron Deposit type.
Channel Iron Deposit are iron-rich fluvial sedimentary deposits of possible Miocene age occupying meandering palaeochannels in the Early to Mid-Tertiary Hamerlsey palaeosurface of Western Australia. Channel iron systems typically form within a depression on the Tertiary ‘Hamersley Surface’, and form several pods downstream on the palaeodrainage.
The Channel Iron Deposits (CIDs) were formed in ancient meandering river channels. As bedded iron deposits were eroded by weathering, iron particles were concentrated in these river channels. Over time these particles were rimmed with goethite deposited by percolating iron-enriched ground water approximately 15-30 million years ago, which also fused the particles together.
Channel Iron Deposits appear as low flat-topped hills called mesas and have also been located concealed under the cover of more recent rocks. These deposits range in thickness between 5m and 40m thick. This type of deposit is believed to be unique to Western Australia.
CIDs are quite different from bedded ores. Their chief characteristic is their pisolitic 'texture': rounded hematitic 'pea-stones', 0.1mm to 5mm in diameter, rimmed and cemented by a goethitic matrix. The ore is brown-yellow in colour. They typically contain minor amounts of clay in discrete lenses.
Rio Tinto is a world-class asset manager, operating and maintaining all mining, rail, power and port facilities in the Pilbara on behalf of asset owners Hamersley Iron (Rio Tinto: 100 per cent) and Robe River (Rio Tinto: 53 per cent).
Yandicoogina is an open pit operation with site-based processing facilities.
The mining and processing consist of drill and blast, load and haul, process, stockpile and rail-load out
Areas for open-pit mining are selected using the mine plan. Identified areas are tagged, and then holes are drilled in an appropriate pattern by rigs. The drill holes are filled with an explosive, most often ANFO (Ammonium Nitrate/Fuel Oil) and then charged. The resulting blast breaks the material to a size required for digging.
The broken material is loaded for transport by face shovels, excavators or front-end loaders into haul trucks. Haul trucks at Rio Tinto Iron Ore operations are typically in the 190 tonne and 240 tonne class
As haul trucks the mine uses 10 × Komatsu 730E (190 tonne capacity); and, 13 × Komatsu 830E (220 tonne capacity).
Loading Equipment comprises 2 × Hitachi EX3600 - 3500 tonnes per hour; and, 6 × Komatsu WA1200 - 3500 tonnes per hour.
Auxiliary equipment consists of 3 × Reedrill SKS 10 5/8 rotary drills; 3 × Caterpillar D11 dozers; 1 x WA900 loader; 2 × Caterpillar 16H grader; 2 × WD900 Komatsu wheel dozer; 1 x 24 mtpa dry crushing and screening plant; 1 x 12 mtpa wet crushing and screening plant; 1x 16 mtpa dry crushing and screening plant.
The mine has a dual train loadout capability.
Yandicoogina mine will now be converted to fully autonomous operation. In November a memorandum of understanding with Komatsu (subject to binding terms of supply being negotiated) was concluded for the supply of at least 150 Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) haul trucks to be used in the Pilbara inland mining operations. Progress is also being made towards gaining innovative efficiencies in the group’s ports and rail divisions, including the deployment of a driver-assist system in rail operations and vacuum moorings at ports. In February 2012 a US$518 million investment was approved to introduce the AutoHaul™ driverless trains on the Pilbara network from 2014.
Overland conveyors are used to transport partially crushed feed at sites where there are long distances between the pits and process plants. Processing of the ore ranges from simple crushing and screening to a standard size, through to processes that beneficiate or upgrade the quality of the iron ore products. This is done by physical processes, which remove impurities by differences in particle density or size gravity or size separation. Processing may be wet or dry.
The processed ore is stockpiled and blended to meet product quality requirements, before being reclaimed and conveyed to rail load-out. The ore is loaded into ore for transport to the port facilities.
Crushing and screening plant - 31.4 million tonnes per annum (North and South combined).
Rio Tinto's Iron Ore group seeks to balance economic, social and environmental considerations across all parts of its business. This is achieved by making sustainable development considerations an integral part of our business plans and decision-making processes.
Rio Tinto's Sustainable Development and Climate Change Panel supports senior leadership to embed sustainable development into the way we work. The group oversees the organisation's identification and management of economic, environmental and social risks, and opportunities.
In addition to Rio Tinto's statement of business practice, The way we work, Rio Tinto define its commitment to sustainable development with nine principles. Together, these principles guide the way we plan for the future.
The closure of a mine or other operating sites requires planning beyond simply rehabilitating the site. Rio Tinto consider the management of social issues resulting from closure, especially in remote areas where communities are dependent on the socio-economic benefits of the mine.
Rio Tinto plans for closure from the earliest stages of project development to decommissioning activities and are guided by the Rio Tinto Closure Standard.
The intent of the standard is to ensure that Rio Tinto managed activities are left in a condition which minimises adverse impacts on the human and natural environment.
Rio Tinto experiences with closure planning have helped the business understand that the environmental and social legacy is possibly the most tangible indicator of an operations contribution to sustainable development in the areas where we operate. Consequently, we have adopted a multi-disciplinary approach to closure planning, requiring a wide range of technical and business disciplines.
These activities allow Rio Tinto to influence the design, development, operation and closure of all managed operations to ensure post-closure outcomes that meet needs and expectations outside of the business.
Product stewardship means understanding the life cycle of the metals and minerals we produce, including the safe production, use and disposal of metal and mineral products as the need for them continues in society.
Increasingly, producers have both individual and joint responsibility with other stakeholders to ensure that products are managed safely across their life cycles. Our product stewardship work allows us to improve our understanding of the health, safety and environmental implications of the use of our products. Rio Tinto's product stewardship strategy emphasises the importance of understanding threats and opportunities in the market, and the importance of engagement with key stakeholders including customers, suppliers, regulators and communities.
Rio Tinto is in the process of implementing a formal material-stewardship programme, as well as completing life cycle assessments on key products. Material stewardship is a collective term for resource, process and product stewardship. It means better understanding and taking responsibility for our iron ore products, from their discovery and mining, production, use and management at end of life
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