04/03/2009 - 22:00

Iron ore projects crank up

04/03/2009 - 22:00

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CHINESE company CITIC Pacific Mining is doing more than its fair share to counter the downturn in mining and construction jobs in Western Australia, announcing that the peak workforce on its Sino Iron project will peak at a larger than expected 4,000 peop

Iron ore projects crank up

CHINESE company CITIC Pacific Mining is doing more than its fair share to counter the downturn in mining and construction jobs in Western Australia, announcing that the peak workforce on its Sino Iron project will peak at a larger than expected 4,000 people.

CITIC is investing more than $5 billion in the Pilbara project, which is likely to become Australia's first magnetite iron ore project.

The company originally anticipated that its construction workforce would peak at 2,500 but has recently revised that number higher.

It has also revised the start of production. Its original ambitious goal was to start production this year but is now aiming for mid 2010.

Speaking at a CITIC function last week, chief executive Barry Fitzgerald expressed frustration at delays encountered by the project.

CITIC currently has 500 employees working in Perth, at the Cape Preston project site, 100 kilometres south of Karratha, and in China, where a lot of the engineering and design work is proceeding.

It also has 570 contractors working at the project site, where development will be of a larger scale and more complex than traditional 'direct shipping' iron ore mines.

The CITIC project will include an open pit mine, a magnetite concentrator, a pellet plant, a 450 megawatt power station, a 51 gigalitre desalination plant and a new port.

It is one of several iron ore projects that has attracted Chinese backing.

Its main rival for the title of WA's first magnetite iron ore project is the Karara iron ore project in the Mid West.

Karara is a joint venture between Perth company Gindalbie Metals and its Chinese partner, steel maker Ansteel.

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