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Nammuldi Below Water Table Project

Australia, WA

The Nammuldi Below Water Table (NBWT) Project iron ore deposits are located within the West Pilbara region of Western Australia, situated approximately 60 km north-west of Tom Price. Lycopodium was engaged to undertake the PES, DES and EPC for stage 1 and stage 2.

Rio Tinto is developing Nammuldi as a brownfield development including the satellite deposits at Silvergrass and Homestead. Lycopodium has been working on this project since 2007 when a number of scoping reports and reviews were undertaken.

In late 2009 Lycopodium commenced work on the Preliminary Engineering Study, followed by the Definitive Engineering Study which was completed in December 2011.  In January 2012 Lycopodium, in joint venture with URS Australia, was awarded the EPCM contract for infrastructure on the project.

The $3B Nammuldi expansion included two new pits, storage facilities, additional accommodation and increased the production limit from 8 Mtpa to 25 Mtpa for Nammuldi.

First ore production from below the water table was achieved on schedule and budget in September 2014 quarter.  It included a remote primary crushing plant, 3 km overland conveyor and wet processing plant.

On 16 July 2014, Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh announced in a press release: “We achieved another half of very strong operating performance, powered by productivity gains across our business. Our iron ore expansion continues to deliver high-margin growth reinforcing our position as a low-cost producer. It has allowed us to increase shipments of our Pilbara Blend products, providing our customers with reliable, long-term supply of stable quality.”  Further detail of Rio Tinto’s Pilbara operations revealed that first half production had set a new first-half record, driven by productivity improvements and the ramp-up to the target of 290 Mtpa run rate achieved in May, two months ahead of schedule.

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