Fortescue Metals Group has commenced a progressive restart of its Solomon Hub iron ore operations in Western Australia following a worker incident.
Activity at Solomon Hub was resumed on October 1 following a fatal accident and a temporary suspension of mining and processing activity on September 30, 2021.
The incident involved a collapse of ground that resulted in the fatality with a full investigation ongoing.
Fortescue confirmed it is working closely with WA Police and WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety on the investigation.
The company does not expect its shipments, cost or capital expenditure to be altered as a result of the operations halt.
“The wellbeing of the entire Fortescue family is our priority with a range of support services available across our sites, including the Fortescue chaplains and employee assistance program,” Fortescue chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines said last week.
Solomon Hub is located 120 kilometres from Fortescue’s Chichester Hub and comprises Firetail, Kings Valley and Queens Valley mines.
The site has a production capacity of 75 million tonnes of iron ore per year, with its product blending higher iron grade ore from Firetail with low phosphorous Chichester ore.
The Solomon Hub is one of three mining hubs operated by Fortescue in the Pilbara Region of Western Australia.
Fortescue shipped a record 182.2 million tonnes of iron ore in the 2020-21 financial year.
The company is aiming to deploy more autonomous vehicles across its operation with 193 autonomous haul trucks operated across its Pilbara operations, including 79 automated haul tracks at Solomon Hub.
Fortescue contracted the Wintawari Guruma Aboriginal Corporation to develop new mines at Solomon Hub through a $500 million contract in September, which is the largest deal between Fortescue and an Aboriginal business.
The 10-year mine services contract will also result in the formation of a working group to collaboratively work together on all stages of the mine development.