Construction of the $1.8 billion Karara iron ore project in Western Australia officially got under way on the weekend.
Located 500 km north-east of Perth and 225 km east of Geraldton, Karara is an integrated iron ore project being developed under a joint venture between Australian iron ore company Gindalbie Metals an Chinese steel and iron ore company Ansteel.
Karara is one of the first major projects to get off the ground in the iron ore rich Mid West region.
Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett joined executives from both companies at the official ground breaking ceremony on Saturday morning.
According to Gindalbie, the Karara Project will deliver major economic benefits for the Mid West region and the State, generating around 1,500 construction jobs and 600 direct and indirect long-term jobs.
With an expected mine life of more than 30 years, the company expects Karara to initially produce 10Mtpa of iron products starting in 2011, with much greater potential over its life.
“We already know that the ore body can support a much higher production rate, and our vision is for Karara to eventually become a 30-35Mtpa project, which we believe can be sustained for over 30 years,” Gindalbie managing director Garret Dixon said.
With iron to at first be exported through Geraldton Port, the project will initially generate around $1 billion in annual export revenues, building to $3 billion annually, Gindalbie said.