Moly Mines has been mining four areas of iron ore mineralisation identified within its granted mining leases that were acquired for the Spinifex Ridge molybdenum project. Production at the Spinifex Ridge iron ore operations began in December 2010, with an estimated production capacity of one million tonnes per annum of direct shipping hematite ore.
The areas currently being mined are known as Auton, Auton North-East, Dalek and Gallifrey, and lie about 500 metres east of the Spinifex Ridge molybdenum-copper resource. More than 155 reverse-circulation and diamond drill holes for 10,000m of drilling has been completed across the iron ore prospects, which has defined a maiden resource estimate for Spinifex Ridge iron ore of 7.3 million tonnes at 59 per cent iron.
Ore from Spinifex Ridge is shipped from the port at Utah Point in Port Hedland. In January 2011 Moly Mine’s maiden shipment of Spinifex Ridge iron ore reached the port of Qingdao in China. The vessel MV Father Neptune carried 54,500 wet tonnes (52,799 dry tonnes) of iron ore fines grading 59.1 per cent iron with a final sales price of US$150 per dry metric tonne.
Ore tonnes shipped from the Spinifex Ridge iron ore mine during the September 2011 quarter total 257,267 wet tonnes from the three shipments scheduled for the quarter, which represented a 20 per cent increase on the June 2011 quarter. Mining and crushing operations, which have remained on single day shift, have performed above planned capacity according to Moly Mines, and have been delivering iron ore fines product to the company’s stockpiles ahead of the shipping schedule. A further four shipments were scheduled for the December 2011 quarter, which were expected to result in total shipments for the calendar year in excess of 0.9 million wet tonnes.