Ownership: Citic Pacific (80%) Metallurgical Corporation of China (20%) Minerology Pty Lt (Royalty)
The Sino iron project is being developed at Cape Preston, 100 kilometres south-west of Karratha in the Pilbara region of WA. It is the largest magnetite mining and processing operation under construction in Australia.
The project is one of China's largest investments into the Australian resources sector and is owned by Hong Kong-based CITIC Pacific, and operated by its subsidiary Citic Pacific Mining. Production and export of concentrate was expected in the first half of 2012. Citic Pacific Mining has rights to acquire an additional four billion tonnes of resources, which would lift production to 70 million tonnes per year. At peak construction about 4000 people would be employed building the project.
The Sino iron project has a mine life of about 25 years, producing both magnetite concentrate and magnetite pellets. Concentrate from the project would be a superior product for steel making, due to higher iron content (about 67 per cent) and lower levels of impurities in comparison to traditional products. The magnetite product would contain virtually no undesirable phosphorous or alumina. In addition, less energy would be required to process Sino iron magnetite concentrate into steel in comparison to hematite products from the Pilbara, meaning it would have an overall net global benefit in terms of carbon pollution reduction.
Project infrastructure would include concentrate processing facilities, a 51 giga-litre desalination plant and port facility, as well as a 450 mega-watt combined-cycle, gas- fired power station.
Once the Sino Iron project has been completed, Citic Pacific Mining would become the first Chinese-owned mining company to ship iron ore products from WA to China. Australia and China would enjoy mutual wide-ranging benefits from the Sino iron project including long-term economic, social and community dividends for decades to come.
Under construction. Citic Pacific Mining currently has approval to export about 22 million tonnes of magnetite concentrate per year.