250 jobs coming as iron ore mine given green light

SPECULATION the price of iron ore will drift lower as the coronavirus pandemic affects demand hasn't dampened the confidence of Nathan River Resources, which has been cleared to mine its Roper Bar project 600km southeast of Darwin in the Gulf Country.

Mine operations are predicted to start later this year, at the former Western Desert Resources open-cut iron ore mine, with more than 250 full-time positions expected across mining, haulage, marine and support functions.

Minister for Primary Industry and Resources Paul Kirby has approved the project's Mining Management Plan and authorised the company to start mining.

"The resources industry is the Territory's largest industry sector and the single biggest contributor of own-source revenue to the NT economy," Mr Kirby said.

Nathan River Resources estimates around one million tonnes of high-grade iron ore will be mined and exported from the existing mine pits and transported via the well-established haul road to the Bing Bong load-out facility.

 

Nathan River Resources chief executive officer Stefan Murphey said the Nathan River Project would now progress to full mining operations.

"The Nathan River Project is a significant mining operation for the Northern Territory, with more than $250 million spent on infrastructure to date to open up iron ore mining and employment opportunities for Territorians and the Roper region," he said.

"We now look forward to working with our partners and suppliers in the Territory to refurbish the project's pit-to-port infrastructure over the coming months."

Nathan River Resources is owned by British Marine Group (Britmar). It took over the former Western Desert Resources Roper Bar iron ore mine in 2017 after the previous owner went into liquidation.

The mine is 55km southeast of Ngukurr and was sprinkled with a mix of shining hope and controversy when with Western Desert Resources, which invested considerable capital in the mine.

 

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The haulage road it built has been hailed as among the best in remote Australia.

Nathan River Resources was given approval in 2018 to reopen the mine and ship existing stockpiled minerals and process low-grade ore at the site.

Mr Kirby said Nathan River Resources' decision to invest in the Roper Bar project was a boost for the resources sector, the Territory economy and job opportunities for local people.

"It is a sign of confidence in the NT as a place to invest and exemplifies the significant potential of the Territory's mining industry," he said.

"The resources sector will have an important role to play in our economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis."

Originally published as 250 jobs as NT iron ore mine given green light