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The Christmas Island phosphate mine in the Indian Ocean was recently awarded a new lease by the Australian Government securing its phosphate mining operation on the island until 2034. The new lease was welcome news for the Christmas Island community as much as it was for the mine owner Phosphate Resources Limited and its workforce of 155 full time workers. Christmas Island is an Australian based territory situated in the Indian Ocean 380 kilometres from Indonesia and 2,600 kilometres north west of Perth.

Phosphate Mining has Been Taking Place on Christmas Island for Over a Hundred Years
The mining of phosphate began on Christmas Island more than 100 years ago and soon became the economic foundation of the island. This situation remains to the present day with Phosphate Resources Limited being its major source of employment outside of the more recently established immigration detention centre.

Phosphate Resources Limited was Founded by the Mine Workers in 1990
Phosphate Resources Limited have only mined phosphate on Christmas Island since 1990, following a successful application from workers at the mine, to the Australian Government, that allowed them to re-open the mine themselves after the previous owner had closed it down. Many of the workers who re-opened the mine at that time are either still working for the company or are its shareholders.

Modern Open cut Mining Methods are Used on Christmas Island
Phosphate mining on Christmas Island is undertaken using modern open cut mining methods utilising a variety of earth moving equipment to mine rock phosphate from many different deposits and stockpiles. The phosphate abundant soil on Christmas Island is removed with a hydraulic excavator. It is then loaded onto haulage trucks that take it to field stockpiles. It is here where vegetation and large limestone rocks are removed by mobile field screening methods. The remaining ore is loaded onto road trains by means of a front end loader and transported to the run- of-mine (ROM) pad that is situated near the dryers. It is stockpiled here depending on its grade. This phosphate ore is then blended to create a product to specifically meet an individual customers requirements before it is dried and crushed.

Christmas Island Phosphate Dust is Collected Along With the Phosphate Rock
The fine particles created by the crushing, including the dust, is collected by means of a dust extraction system resulting in the rock and dust being stored temporarily at the dryers in specially built silos. When ready, the dust and rock phosphate is taken from the silos, by a conveyor belt and covered air slide, through a number of transfer stations until it finishes up at the bulk storage area located on the wharf, three kilometres from where it all began. It is on the wharf where the dust is packed into bags that are stacked on pallets in readiness for loading onto ships for exporting off the island. The phosphate rock is loaded onto the ships with the use of two cantilever arms equipped with dust suppression systems and telescopic shutes. The arms are swung over the appropriate ship hatch and the rock poured into the hold. Each arm is able to load up to 600 tonnes of rock phosphate an hour.

Every Phosphate Shipment off Christmas Island Meets Customers Specifications
Every shipment of phosphate off Christmas Island is specifically prepared to meet a certain customers specification. It is a particular specification that determines which stockpile of rock phosphate is to be used, or whether it needs to be blended with a number of stockpiles. Checks are regularly made throughout the process to ensure the customer receives the exact specification they have requested.

Phosphate Resources

Phosphate Resources Limited's(PRL) key asset is the 100%-owned phosphate rock mine on Christmas Island, where it has mined and exported phosphate since 1990, and until recently exported approximately 700,000 tonnes of phosphate product each year to Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Thailand more


Phosphate Resources
12 Lyall Street
South Perth, WA 6151

PO Box 1194
South Perth, WA 6151



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