Thiess begins mining in WA after 20 years
Thiess began work in Western Australia in goldmining in the 1980s to early 1990s before packing up to focus on mining in Queensland.
It has been almost 20 years out of the state, but that hasn’t stopped Thiess from winning a major $100 million contract with Fortescue Metals Group for Phase One development works on the Solomon Hub iron ore mine in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.
The 18-month contract is for initial pioneering and mine establishment works such as haul roads, stockpile pads and the mining of early ore and waste. The work will establish the Solomon area for long-term mining operations.
Managing director Bruce Munro said the contract represents a welcome return to the west for Thiess’ mining business and underlines the importance of Western Australia to Thiess as a whole.
“Our construction and services businesses have long term client relationships and strong operations in the West and with the substantial iron ore reserves, there are clients we could assist in getting the best out of their mining operations,” Mr Munro said.
“Mining in Western Australia is five times the volume of the mining that happens in Queensland.
“So you have to ask yourself the question; Thiess is the biggest contract miner in the world, why are we so strong in Queensland and not in Western Australia?
“The answer is very obvious, we focused all of our efforts in Queensland.
“But now is definitely the right time to go back to Western Australia.”
Mr Munro described Thiess and FMG of being very similar in regards to the same ‘can do’ culture that both companies have.
“They get in and make things happen, they want to see it develop, they don’t want to analyse it to death before they do actually start to make things move,” he said.
Thiess won the iron ore mine contract in a competitive process, and is now well positioned to bid for further works on the mine development and the main services contract which commences in approximately 12 months.
Thiess executive general manager Michael Wright said Thiess is currently mobilising people and equipment to Solomon and commencing preliminary works on-site.
“This is an exciting win for us and the start of a strong relationship with Fortescue”, Mr Wright said.
The Solomon Hub mine is part of Fortescue’s Three Hub Strategy in the Pilbara, which will see overall annual production boosted to in excess of 155 million tonnes over the coming years. The Solomon Hub mine is expected to start producing iron ore in 2012.
Thiess’ ability to quickly mobilise highly skilled people and appropriate equipment was central to the company’s successful bid. Thiess has re-established a mining office in Perth to support this and other mining projects.
“With a team dedicated to WA, we can offer great service and value to our clients,” Mr Wright said.