Fortescue awards US$1.5bn Firetail mine contract

PERTH, Western Australia - Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX: FMG, Fortescue) has awarded Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd the mining and operations (M&O) contract for its Firetail deposit at Solomon.

The US$1.5 billion five-year contract will deliver whole-of-mine management at Firetail, including operating and maintaining the mining fleet, ore handling plants and associated infrastructure. Firetail is on target to produce 20 million tonnes per annum by the end of March 2013.

Fortescue CEO Nev Power said: “I’m delighted to be able to announce the awarding of the M&O contract for Firetail to Leighton Contractors as a key milestone in our expansion to 115mtpa by the end of the March quarter 2013.

“This follows the commissioning of the second train unloader at Herb Elliott Port last week increasing port infrastructure capacity to 115mtpa.

“We are also counting down the days until we see first ore from the Christmas Creek 2 expansion in the Chichester operation as we ramp up to 95mtpa by the end of the year.”

The contract includes a commitment by Leighton Contractors to engage graduates of Fortescue’s Indigenous training and employment program VTEC, and to support Fortescue’s commitment to provide opportunities for Aboriginal contractors and joint ventures to further expand Indigenous employment opportunities.

Indigenous employees comprise more than 10% of Fortescue’s workforce and the company has awarded more than $500 million worth of contracts under its commitment to provide $1 billion in contracts to Aboriginal contractors and joint ventures.

Mr Power restated Fortescue’s commitment to expand to 155mtpa through completion of the 40mtpa Kings mine once market conditions have improved and iron ore prices stabilise.

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