Baptism of fire for Tad’s pink wet high intensity magnetic separator plant

Article by Karma Barndon courtesy of Mining Monthly.


WESTERN Australia iron ore miner Roy Hill has unveiled its new, upgraded wet high intensity magnetic separator plant on site in the Pilbara -dubbed the Watroba plant by chairwoman Gina Rinehart in honour of fellow Hancock Prospecting board member Tad Watroba.

The plant uses magnets to recover high grade ultra-fine iron ore from tailings, which would otherwise end up as waste.

The plant, painted bright pink, was built in late-2019.

It uses two types of magnets to capture the ultrafines and redirect them through its existing processing plant to the fines stockpile.

At the time it was opened Roy Hill CEO Barry Fitzgerald said it was the first time WHIMS had been used in a hematite environment by an iron ore company Roy Hill’s size.

“The WHIMS plant will reduce our environmental impacts by decreasing our tailings waste by approximately 4 million tonnes per annum as well as provide that 4Mpta as additional iron ore without increasing the amount of mineral mined -because it is already part of the material that has been mined,” he said.

Rinehart christened the plant Watroba in a recent ceremony on site.

She said Tad Watroba had been by her side at Roy Hill since the beginning.

“We started from very humble beginnings, with very little money for exploration,” she said.

“Tad’s been there through thick and thin with me, and I can assure you, there’s been a lot of thin, but he’s stuck in there with magnificent loyalty, dedication and integrity throughout all adversity.”

Rinehart said they had gone through inter alia project blockages and thousands and thousands of permits and approvals together.

“And on a more positive note, Tad was there with me throughout when we were able to achieve the world’s largest mainland largely green fields mining debt finance,” she said.

“And the largest commercial deal between Australia and South Korea.”

Rinehart said the WHIMS plant was an example of the sort of innovative thinking that defined the company.

“Of course, like our trains, our locomotives and our haul trucks, and like our PPE -it’s bright pink [in] a visual daily reminder to support breast cancer patients and research.”