MAJOR iron ore producer Fortescue Metals Group’s Nyidinghu deposit has a much larger resource after continued definition drilling revealed an increase of 450 million tonnes. Nyidinghu, northwest of Newman in the Central Pilbara, is now estimated to contain 2.46 billion tonnes using a cut-off grade of 52 per cent iron, with measured resources of 23mt at 59.6 per cent iron and indicated resources of 580mt at an average grade of 58.1 per cent. The remaining 1.86bt is inferred.
“Fortescue exploration team is confident that ultimately the resource at Nyidinghu will exceed 3bt when all resource definitio drilling has been completed,” the company stated.
An estimate was completed at a cut-off grade of 59 per cent iron, which is a total of 735mt at an average grade of 60.6 per cent.
In a statement the company said 15mt of the amount was measured, 237mt indicated and 483mt inferred.
“This higher grade resource is virtually all bedded iron mineralisation hosted within the Brockman Iron Formation, the most prolific source of high-grade bedded iron ore in the Pilbara region,” the statement said.
The company reportedly plans for a first stage operation of up to 30 million tonnes per annum.
Fortescue chief executive officer Nev Power said the substantial quantity of high-grade resources and the 2.46bt of total resource provided the company with a number of attractive development options for future consideration.
Within Nyidinghu, mineralisation is a mixture of Brockman Iron Formation deposits, channel iron deposits and detrital iron deposits.
Throughout the drilling campaign, more than 90,000 2m composites from 1528 reverse circulation drill holes were used and 100 diamond drill holes were completed.
The project is just 35km from the company’s Cloudbreak operation in its Chichester Hub project area. Cloudbreak was the company’s first mine site and has been operating since 2008, mining and processing 40mt of ore each year.