FORTESCUE Metals Group has increased its Pilbara iron ore mineral resource by more than 300 million tonnes and outlined at a new deposit within the Chichester hub. The Australian miner announced in January it had discovered new resources at its existing Cloudbreak and Christmas Creek operations during drilling in the middle of last year.

Fortescue added 70mt of resources – with 37mt classified as indicated – to the 40 million tonne per annum Cloudbreak mine, and 46mt of resources – 19mt indicated – to the 50mtpa Christmas Creek operation.

In a statement, the company said the new resources were at or very near the surface and were expected to be dry and have a low strip ratio.

“They will now be incorporated into the mine plans for each operation,” the statement said.

Fortescue also announced it had defined a new 106mt mineral resource at Kutay – about 35km southeast of Christmas Creek – and increased the resource at Mt Lewin – 70km southeast of Christmas Creek – from
82mt to 280mt.

The company did not reveal its plans for the new deposits, however stated exploration activities would continue along the Chichester Range.