Drumhead

The Pilbara is a excavation part located around 1,100 km North of Perth, in Western Australia. Iron ore is the major trade good mined in the Pilbara. The Pilbara is a major provider of Fe ore to steel industries in Asia and Europe. BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are the major Fe ore bring forthing companies in the part and in June 2009 agreed to a joint venture to unite all of both companies ‘ Fe ore assets in Western Australia. The joint venture has the possible to make an matchless and dominant Fe ore concern throughout the part and the universe.

Rio Tinto ‘s Pilbara Fe ore operations include 11 mines, three transportation terminuss and a in private owned heavy cargo rail web, with an one-year capacity of 220 million metric tons. BHP Billiton Iron Ore owns seven Fe ore operations, including the universe ‘s largest single-pit open-cut Fe ore mine, two separate individual path rail systems and two separate port operations in the Pilbara. The Pilbara

Introduction

The Pilbara is a 510,000 square-kilometre excavation part located around 1,100 km North of Perth, in Western Australia ( www.bhpbilliton.com ) . Iron ore is the major trade good mined in the Pilbara, bring forthing over 96 per cent of Australia ‘s Fe ore exports. Iron ore production for the part in 2004/05 was deserving about $ 8 billion ( www.pdc.wa.gov.au ) . The major Fe ore bring forthing companies in the part are BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. In June 2009 BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto agreed to a joint venture to unite all of both companies ‘ Fe ore assets in Western Australia ( www.riotintoironore.com ) .

Geology

The Pilbara part contains the 80,000 square-kilometre Hamersley Iron Province. The Province is characterized by the & A ; lsquo ; Hamersley Group ‘ , a group of late Archaean and early Proterozoic stone formations. During the formation of the Hamersley Group, different types of stones were deposited in beds. This resulted in iron-rich beds being deposited alternately with silica-rich beds. This is known as Banded Iron Formation ( BIF ) . Unenriched beds of BIF are normally wasteful and contain around 30 per cent Fe ( www.riotintoironore.com ) .

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Bedded Iron Deposits

Bedded Fe sedimentations are formed due to the natural enrichment of BIF. A figure of the commercially feasible sedimentations in the Pilbara, including the Brockman and Marra Mamba Iron Formations, were formed by this natural enrichment. The natural enrichment procedure of the BIF involved go arounding land Waterss. Hydrous Fe oxides, such as gothite, replaced non-iron minerals and magnetic iron-ores oxidised to haematite ( www.riotintoironore.com ) .

Channel Iron Deposits

Channel Iron Deposits ( CIDs ) in the Pilbara were formed by Fe atoms being concentrated in ancient river channels. The Fe atoms were deposited into the river channels by the weathering and eroding of stratified Fe sedimentations. These atoms were rimmed and fused by gothite which was deposited by iron-enriched land H2O ( www.riotintoironore.com ) .

CIDs occur as table, little flat-topped hills, which can run from about 5 – 40 meters in thickness. Their cardinal feature is the happening of little rounded haematite & A ; lsquo ; pea-stones ‘ , about 0.1mm – 5mm in diameter, hosted in a goethitic matrix ( www.riotintoironore.com ) .

Detrital Iron Deposits

Detrital Fe sedimentations ( DIDs ) are formed by the deposition of ore fragments into natural constructions such as vales and drainage channels. The ore fragments are formed by the weathering and eroding of stratified Fe sedimentations. DIDs can happen as of course cemented or as loose crushed rocks and in many sedimentations both types are present ( www.riotintoironore.com ) .

Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto ‘s Pilbara Fe ore operations include 11 mines, three transportation terminuss and a in private owned heavy cargo rail web. The operations in the Pilbara began in 1966, at the Mount Tom Price mine, and presently have an one-year capacity of 220 million metric tons ( www.riotintoironore.com ) .

In the Pilbara, Rio Tinto owns all of Hamersley Iron ‘s six mines, Brockman, Nammuldi, Mount Tom Price, Marandoo, Paraburdoo and Yandicoogina, every bit good as operates the Channar mine ( 60 per cent ) , the Hope Downs mine ( 50:50 joint venture with Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd ) and the Eastern Range mine ( 54 per cent ) . Rio Tinto besides has a 53 per cent runing involvement in the West Angelas and Mesa J mines, owned by Robe River Iron Associates ( www.riotintoironore.com ) .

Rail and Ports

The rail system is a critical portion of Rio Tinto ‘s Fe ore operations. The rail system services all 11 mines and conveyances ore to Rio Tinto ‘s two ports, Dampier ( 100 per cent ownership ) and Cape Lambert ( 53 per cent joint venture with Robe River ) . Advanced on board computing machines allow for a individual adult male operation with the train control Centre located in Perth ( www.riotintoironore.com ) .

Mining and Processing

All of Rio Tinto ‘s Pilbara operations use unfastened cavity excavation methods. All the operations besides contain on-site processing installations. Ore from Eastern Range and Channar is partially processed on site with the secondary crushed material being sent to Paraburdoo processing works via a conveyer belt for farther processing. A scope of different processing techniques are used at the 11 mines, runing from conventional suppression and showing, to ore mineral extraction processes to better the ore quality ( www.riotintoironore.com ) .

Merchandises

There are a figure of different ore types that are produced by Rio Tinto ‘s Pilbara operations. The Mesa J mine produces Robe River Lump and Fines, which is transported by rail to the port at Cape Lambert and exported into Japan, Europe and Asia ( www.riotinto.com ) . The Yandicoogina mine produces Hamersley Iron Yandicoogina Fines ( HIY – F ) , with the remainder of Rio Tinto ‘s mines lending to organize Pilbara Blend Lump and Fines. Ore from the Hamersley Iron operations is transported by rail to the port of Dampier and is exported to provide the European and Pacific Rim steel industries ( www.riotinto.com ) .

BHP Billiton

BHP Billiton Iron Ore owns seven Fe ore operations in the Pilbara. This includes the universe ‘s largest single-pit open-cut Fe ore mine, Mount Whaleback, which stretches for more than five kilometers and is about 1.5 kilometers broad. Smaller deposits next to Mt Whaleback are Orebodies 29, 30 and 35. BHP Billiton ‘s smaller orbiter mines are Orebodies 18, 23 and 25 and Jimblebar, which are located near the town of Newman. Located about 100 kilometers north-west of Newman are the Area C and Yandi mines. BHP Billiton ‘s other Fe ore operation in the Pilbara is the Yarrie mine, located around 200 kilometers east of Port Hedland ( www.bhpbilliton.com ) .

Rail and Ports

BHP Billiton Iron Ore owns and operates two separate individual path rail systems and two separate port operations, Nelson Point and Finucane Island, which are located either side of the seaport at Port Hedland. One path runs from the Newman country to Nelson Point and services the mines at Mt Whaleback, Jimblebar, Area C, Yandi and Orebodies 18, 23, 25 and 29. The trains going on this line can make up to 3.75 kilometers long and normally consist of six engines and 208 autos, transporting about 125 metric tons of ore each. The other tallies from the Yarrie mine to Finucane Island. Trains on this line normally consist of merely one engine drawing up to 90 autos ( www.bhpbilliton.com ) .

Advanced engineerings such as specialized computing machine package let for all train motions to be controlled from a traffic control Centre in Port Hedland. The rail systems besides play a major function in the blending of ores. Ore is delivered to the ports in specific volumes and classs to guarantee the ores are blended right to run into the class demands of the client ( www.bhpbilliton.com ) .

Mining and Processing

All of BHP Billiton Iron Ore ‘s operations in the Pilbara usage unfastened cavity excavation methods. This involves conventional boring and blasting of the ore which is so transported by draw trucks and put through the primary crusher. The primary crusher interruptions down the ore into balls about the size of a football. These balls are so passed through a secondary crusher to bring forth balls of ore that are about the sized of a Citrus paradisi. The grapefruit-sized balls are so sent to reserves to be loaded onto trains. Mt Whaleback besides contains a mineral extraction works to take any high class ore from the contact waste ( www.bhpbilliton.com ) .

Merchandises

BHP Billiton Iron Ore ‘s operations in the Pilbara produce eight different merchandises, Newman Lump and Fines, Yandi Lump and Fines, Yarrie Lump and Fines and Mining Area C ( MAC ) Lump and Fines. The Fe ore is transported to Port Hedland by rail and is exported to steelworkers in Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Europe and Australia. Nelson Point receives ore from Mt Whaleback, other Newman mines and Yandi, while ore from the Yarrie and Area C mines is sent to Finucane Island ( www.bhpbilliton.com ) .

Discussion

Joint venture

In June 2009 BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto agreed to set up a production joint venture that would unite both of the companies ‘ Western Australian Fe ore assets. The joint venture will intend all current and future Fe ore assets and liabilities will be owned 50:50 by the two companies. The joint venture between the two largest companies runing in the Pilbara will make an matchless and dominant Fe ore concern ( www.riotintoironore.com ) .

Due to the companies ‘ overlapping resources, it is expected that the joint venture will cut down costs, add important value and increase the efficiency of the operations. This is expected to be achieved by uniting mines in close propinquity into individual operations, shorter rail draw and supplying greater intermixing chances to maximize recovery and operating efficiencies ( www.riotintoironore.com ) .

Iron ore produced during the joint venture will be split equally between the companies ‘ and sold independently. The ore will be sent in equal volumes to company designated ships for distribution. BHP Billiton is required to pay Rio Tinto US $ 5.8 billion at fiscal stopping point for equity type involvements to raise its involvements in the joint venture to 50 per cent ( www.riotintoironore.com ) .

Decisions

The Pilbara part is Australia ‘s primary Fe ore bring forthing part, lending to more than 96 per cent of Fe ore exports. The joint venture between the two largest companies runing in the Pilbara, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, will supply the companies with cost decreases and significantly increase the efficiency of their operations. It besides has the possible to make an matchless and dominant Fe ore concern throughout the part and the universe.

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