FMG’s iron ore deposits are located in the Pilbara region in Western Australia, less than two hours’ flight north of Perth. In this region, FMG holds the mining rights to an area covering 71,400 km². A special hallmark of the mines presently opened up by FMG is the flat-lying nature of the iron ore deposits. In such an environment, the advantages offered by the surface mining technology are most obvious: “Wirtgen surface miners allow high-quality products to be mined with economic efficiency even from technically challenging mineral deposits,” says Bernhard Schimm,
Manager of the Wirtgen Mining Division.
In comparative studies that were performed as part of the selection process to determine the most suitable main mining method, surface mining was able to win out over all other mining methods. Fortescue Metals Group was won over by the high economic efficiency of the surface mining technology:
Wirtgen surface miners enable precise and highly selective material mining. Maximum exploitation of the mineral deposit is thus guaranteed.
Selective mining using surface miners allows the product quality to be influenced at a very early stage, which results in high-quality materials being mined.
Major potentials for cost reduction can be realized as surface miners cut, crush and load the material in a single working pass. The use of primary crushers , for example, is thus eliminated.
The use of surface miners cuts the overall investment costs in opencast mining equipment required for iron ore mining by nearly fifty percent.
Surface mining eliminates the need for crushers, for example, and reduces the number of transport trucks.
Cutting, crushing and loading in a single step additionally enables the production costs per tonne of iron ore mined to be reduced by around forty percent.