Atlas Iron has received board approval and concluded joint venture (JV) agreements with Altura Mining, to develop the Mt Webber Iron Ore Project. Mt Webber spans the JV tenement (Atlas 70%, Altura 30%) and Atlas’ northern adjoining tenement.

Mt Webber is 230km south-southeast of Port Hedland in Western Australia and has environmental approval, paving the way for immediate development. Operations will begin in December 2013, with first ore shipments from the June quarter of 2014, targeting an initial annual rate of 3 million tonnes as part of Atlas’ overall North Pilbara standard product blend.

The project, which has a capital development cost of Aus$146 million, is fully funded via Atlas’ existing cash at bank. Mt Webber has a mine life of 18 years.

Atlas is targeting an increased rate of 6 million tonnes in a stage 2 mine development. Mt Webber ore will be trucked to Utah Point port in the first phase development, however, production could also comprise part of any future rail agreement.

Atlas’ managing director Ken Brinsden says, “The decision to develop Mt Webber represents another key milestone for Atlas. Mt Webber is the largest of our Horizon 1 mines and provides us with high quality, long-life production which will enable us to reach our targeted 12 million tonne production rate by the June quarter of 2014.

“With our Pardoo, Wodgina and Mount Dove mines in operation, Abydos due to commence in the current quarter and now Mt Webber being developed Atlas will have delivered five mines in five years. This positions the company to deliver strong cash flows and enables Atlas to consider further investment in its pipeline of quality growth projects.

“Atlas is also pleased to assist our joint venture partner Altura Mining join the ranks of the Pilbara iron ore producers via common sense infrastructure sharing arrangements which reward both parties, local communities and the State,” Ken Brinsden adds.

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