Hope Downs Iron Ore secured a State Agreement for the Hope Downs tenements in December 1992 and progressed exploration and evaluation work, then finished a pre-feasibility study and commenced a Bankable Feasibility Study. In 1998 HDIO secured Iscor of South Africa as a partner to help fund the Hope Downs Bankable Feasibility Study. Iscor later “unbundled” and the partner became Kumba, a smaller and less financially strong company, and the Hope Downs project was delayed by various events, including negotiations to share infrastructure with BHPBIO and the takeover of Kumba by Anglo, and Anglo’s commitment to the South African Government that it would focus its iron ore investments in South Africa.
On 1 July 2005 Kumba was replaced by Rio Tinto Iron Ore when the company announced agreement to enter into the Hope Downs Joint Venture (HDJV), a 50 / 50 joint venture between Hope Downs Iron Ore (HDIO) and Rio Tinto Iron Ore. First production from the A$1.3 billion Hope Downs Mine was achieved in November 2007 with first railing of ore over the new “Lang Hancock Railway” (named in honour of Lang Hancock) to Dampier achieved prior to Christmas 2007.
Following the success of this first mine, further investment enabled the commencement one year later of its second mine, Hope South. Hope Downs now comprises two distinct mines utilising the “Lang Hancock Railway” (named in honour of Lang Hancock) to transport ore to Dampier, in excess of 30 Mtpa.
The HDJV currently employs in excess of 500 people across a range of cultures and operates with an excellent record in the areas of health, safety and the environment. Maintaining these high standards and reliability for its customers are key areas of management focus.
Building on exploration and feasibility work previously completed by HDIO of the Hancock Prospecting Group, the HDJV is currently awaiting approvals to commence Hope 4. With a reserve base of 137mt and a resource of 346mt, Hope 4 has the potential to become a significant iron ore producer in 2012 and as reported in the media in January 2010 has requested environmental approval to proceed with a 30 Mtpa mining operation, which after ramp up would double the HDJV’s current tonnage. Long term contract opportunities still existing for Hope 4 ore, which has a higher Fe content than Hope 1 ores and is also higher in phosphorous.
The strength of the current Hope 1 operations and the potential of the other Hope Downs tenements following the HPPL Group’s earlier exploration should allow the Hancock Prospecting Group to continue to contribute to the growth of the Pilbara region, West Australia and the nation as a whole for many decades to come.
|Hope 2 and 3||
|Hope 5 and 6||