BHP Iron Ore Pty Ltd Protocol for Mine Closure Goldsworthy, Western Australia

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1994
Background BHP Iron Ore Pty Ltd is one of the major iron ore producers in the Pilbara Region of North Western Australia. The company manages three separate joint ventures; the Newman, Goldsworthy and Yandi joint ventures and two 100 per cent owned operations, Yampi and Jimblebar. The Newman operations constitute a mine site at Newman and a 426 km railroad to Port Hedland where there is an ore processing/port site. The Goldsworthy operations currently constitute a mine site at Shay Gap/Nimingarra, a developing mine site at Yarrie, a decommissioned mine site at Goldsworthy and an ore processing/port site at Finucane Island (Port Hedland). The Yandi operations include mining and processing facilities at site and a spur line to join the Newman Hedland railroad. Jimblebar operations are scree and bedrock mining near Newman and include mining, processing and a spur line to Newman where it joins the Newman-Hedland railroad. The Yampi operations constitute a mine/port site at Koolan Island (which is presently being decommissioned). The combined BHP Iron Ore operations produce approximately 46 Mtpa of iron ore. This paper will concentrate on the processes developed and applied for the decommissioning of the Goldsworthy site. The Goldsworthy site is on the northern boundary of the Pilbara Region and adjacent to the western extremity of the Great Sandy Desert. It is located approximately 110 km east of Port Hedland (see Figure 1). The area is generally of low relief with isolated low ranges. The mine site being within the Mount Goldsworthy range area. The geology of the area is essentially Archaean granite with Archaean banded iron formation becoming dominant within the ranges. The chief soils are hard alkaline red soils. The vegetation is essentially shrub steppe with the main hummock grass species being spinifex (Triodia sp). The climate for the region is semi arid tropical. The temperature ranges from a mean low of 15¦C in winter to a mean high of 40¦ in summer. Rainfall is episodic, occurring mainly throughout the summer as a result of tropical depressions or cyclonic activity. The average annual rainfall is approximately 300 mm and annual evaporation may exceed rainfall by up to 2500 mm. Goldsworthy Mining Ltd commissioned the Goldsworthy site in 1965/66. Goldsworthy was the first iron ore operation and associated town site in the Pilbara region. The mine development peaked in 1977 with the town population reaching 1400 people. In 1982 mining ceased and the mining operations were relocated to Shay Gap, 80 km east of Goldsworthy. The Goldsworthy town continued as the base for the railing operations between Finucane Island and Shay Gap. BHP Minerals acquired Goldsworthy Mining Limited in 1990. The population for the town of Goldsworthy at this stage was around 450 people. An assessment of the Goldsworthy site operations concluded that it was uneconomic to continue the operation of the site. The decision was made to transfer the base for railing operations to Port
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