Transport contractor engaged for Pilbara iron ore project


Staff reporter

Western Australia iron ore junior Red Hawk Mining will work with transport group MGM Bulk to fine tune the all-important road haulage component of its proposed A$150 million Blacksmith project under a strategic partnership agreement announced this week.

MGM, one of the largest private contractors providing road transport services to mines in Australia, could provide a fleet of 150-tonne ultra-quad trucks and drivers to the project, which is about 70km north-west of Tom Price and 170km south-west of Karratha.

Red Hawk is aiming for a 2025 production start at Blacksmith and has a pre-feasibility study slated for release next month. It wants to wrap up a definitive FS and make a final investment decision in the March quarter next year.

Red Hawk’s 2023 scoping study outlined a 3 million tonnes per annum direct shipping ore (60.5% Fe) operation with a US$49.92/tonne C1 cash cost, free on board, and US$65.85/t C3 all-in costs, which it wants to lower. About 60% of operating costs are in trucking ore to shipping facilities on the coast.

The circa-20-year project is built around a mainly indicated 174Mt haematite iron ore resource (average 60% Fe), claimed to be the largest DSO iron ore resource in the hands of an ASX-listed junior.

Red Hawk has a current market value of about A$116 million and had $4 million in the bank at the end of 2023.

It said in February this year an “optimal road train haulage strategy is being developed to minimise upfront capital expenditure and operational cost whilst complying with all regulatory requirements”.

“Selection of the optimal road haulage strategy [involves] a review of existing approved restricted access vehicle configurations along the route from Blacksmith to the Utah Point bulk handling facility at Port Hedland,” Red Hawk said.

“MGM Bulk’s operations in the Pilbara, centred around delivering iron ore into the Utah Point, are second to none,” Red Hawk managing director Steven Michael said this week.

“Their fleet size, quality, operational performance and safety record are critical factors in ensuring the success of the Blacksmith project.”

“Our PFS team is working closely with MGM Bulk’s commercial and operations team to deliver operating and capital cost estimates with a high degree of certainty, which can easily be translated into an operational haulage contract.”

 

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