MinRes to close Yilgarn iron ore hub

Company News

by Glenn Dyer

Approximately 1,000 miners are facing an uncertain future as Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN) closes its Yilgarn iron ore mining hub in the WA Goldfields region and expands deeper into longer-life mines in the Ashburton and West Pilbara regions of the state.

MinRes said in a statement to the ASX on Wednesday evening that its 13-year-old mining operations at Yilgarn would cease to be "financially viable" after this year, with the last shipments to be made by the end of December.

MinRes is Australia’s fifth-largest iron ore producer, with operations in three iron ore hubs across Western Australia in the Yilgarn, Pilbara, and Ashburton regions. Starting next January, there will be two.

MinRes blamed the diminishing lifespan of the five mine sites connected to the hub and the substantial resources required to develop new operations in the vicinity.

Yilgarn is located about 350 kilometers northeast of Perth.

The closure will impact around 1,000 workers, but MinRes has assured that these employees will be given priority for open positions and retraining opportunities.

“This prudent but difficult decision was not taken lightly and follows years of investment to extend the life of our operations in the Yilgarn,” MinRes CEO Chris Ellison said in a statement to the ASX on Wednesday.

"The MinRes Yilgarn Hub team will be prioritized for open positions and retraining. Regrettably, there will also be an impact on contractors, suppliers, and those in the supply chain, and MinRes will work closely with their employers over the coming months.

"Five digger fleets, including 28 trucks and 25 pieces of ancillary gear, will be redeployed across the business.

"While ramping down operations, MinRes will consider future options for its Yilgarn Hub assets, including rehabilitation or disposal. Exploration drilling and environmental studies focused on hematite and magnetite targets will continue into calendar year 2025."

Ellison added, “With our investment across Western Australia, we have almost 800 vacancies and will redeploy as many of our people as possible to other MinRes operations, including our low-cost, long-life Onslow Iron project.”

MinRes says on its website that "Significant work is underway to set up the business for growth, as we transition from short-life, high-cost mines to lower-cost, long-life operations.”

"This will be achieved through the development of the Onslow Iron project that will unlock stranded iron ore deposits in the west Pilbara."

Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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