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HBI plant celebrates birthday

FEBRUARY 2000 marked the first anniversary of the start of production from the BHP’s $2.45 billion HBI plant at Boodarie near Port Hedland.

Since then, more than 383,000 tonnes of BoodarieTM iron has been moved via the overland conveyor to shipping stockpiles at Finucane Island. From there, almost 359,000t of the briquettes have left the port bound for South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Port Kembla.

HBI operations vice president John Woolfrey said another recent milestone was the production of the one millionth tonne of fines iron ore concentrate through the ore processing plant at Boodarie.

The concentrate, with some 67.5 per cent iron content, provides the solid feed to the HBI reactors.

“Production was affected in mid-December when a full plant shutdown was triggered by the onset of Cyclone John,” Mr Woolfrey said.

“More recently, production again stopped after lightning strikes on the local power distribution system caused a chain of events that culminated in a total loss of power to the HBI Plant.”

The company has since successfully operated two production trains simultaneously for extended periods. Within the next few weeks, it expects to extend three trains to constant operation as confidence in the system grows.

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