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The Mount Jackson mine, located 50 kilometres north of Southern Cross and 420 kilometres from Perth, exports lump and fine iron ore products out of its own port facility at Esperance. The mine is in outback Western Australia with the workers living in modern camp accommodation after being flown in and out to complete their rosters.

The Mining of Iron Ore began in 2003 at Mount Jackson

Mount Jackson is a hill reaching 617 metres above sea level that was discovered in 1846 by Augustus Gregory. Gold was discovered there in 1894. It came into prominence in 2003 when Mining company Portman Limited acquired a 605 hectare mining lease and began mining iron ore there. Portman Limited was acquired by North American global mining company Cliffs Natural Resources, through its subsidiary Cliffs Asia Pacific Iron Ore Pty Ltd, in early 2009.

Mount Jackson is a Part of the Koolyanobbing Mining Operation

The Mount Jackson Mine is a part of Cliffs larger Koolyanobbing iron ore operation that includes the Windarling Mine and the Koolyanobbing Mine. Ore from the Mount Jackson operation is hauled 80 kilometres north by truck to Koolyanobbing where it is transferred onto railway wagons that take it 575 kilometres south to Esperance for shipping to the company's overseas customers for steel manufacturing. There are two open pits at Mount Jackson containing iron ore reserves of 33 million tonnes. The Koolyanobbing operation, including the Mount Jackson Mine, has recently been upgraded that has resulted in a 30 percent increase in its production capacity.

An Alliance Formed with BGC Contracting

An important step was taken in the second half of 2007 when Cliffs Asia Pacific Iron Ore Holdings Pty Ltd formed the Koolyanobbing Alliance with mining contractor BGC. This partnership recognised Cliffs as being responsible for the mines infrastructure and utilities including corporate support and technical services. This left BGC responsible for all processing, haulage and mining, such as:

• Drilling

• Blasting

• Crushing

• Screening

• Loading eight million tonnes of ore a year onto trains at Koolyanobbing rail loading facility

• Loading and hauling ore and waste from the three mines, MountrnJackson, Windarling and Koolyanobbing.

The contract also makes BGC responsible for management of the water supply pumps and distribution and all road maintenance. Road haulage consists of 15 specialist road-trains working a double shift over 24 hours with a payload each of 185 tonnes.

Workers Flown in From Perth

Mount Jackson mine workers are flown in to the airfield at Windarling to complete their shits by Skywest in Fokker 50 aircrafts that seat 46 passengers. They are taken by bus from the airfield to their 436 person mine camp accommodation at Koolanobbing.

Camp accommodation includes:

• A recreational room that's connected to Telstra 3G mobile and internet coverage

• Village store and multi-purpose sporting facilities with a gymnasium

• En-suite rooms equipped with flat screen TV with Foxtel

The 33 million tonnes in reserve resource at the two pits that comprise the Mount Jackson iron ore mine has required the removing of approximately 605 hectares of overburden and top soil that contains native vegetation. The surrounding area has also been disturbed with the construction of all necessary mine infrastructure including the construction of internal and haulage roads. The fact of de-watering below the normal water table had to also be taken into consideration when application was made for the mine's environmental approval to be granted by the Western Australian Government.

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