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The project, known as Solomon is expected to cost around US$3,34bn.

Within the next two years Western Australia’s big new iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX: FMG) will decide whether it will open up a new iron ore mining area in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

The project known as Solomon was detailed at the Sydney Mining Club and was said to have a development cost of A$3.6 billion (US$3.34 billion).

Fortescue launched its operations through the Cloudbreak mine in the Chichester Range to export to China through a port developed by the company at Anderson Point in Port Hedland. The company has started development on its second mine, Christmas Creek, also in the Chichester Range.

Solomon is well west of Cloudbreak. It was indicated the company’s capacity out of Port Hedland may cater only for ore from the Chichester hub, so a second port and new rail link would be required to a Pilbara port at Anketell Point – particularly if Fortescue ramps up beyond 155 million tonnes per annum of export ore.

The cost of developing Solomon would take in A$850 million (US$790.8 million) for the mine, a similar amount for the railway, and A$700 million (US$651.3 million) for processing plant

The company claimed that while a lot more drilling was required the Solomon hub had potential to be much larger than the Chichester Ranges operations, currently mining at a rate of 38 Mtpa and gearing to increase to 95 Mtpa.

The Solomon mine could begin at 60 Mtpa, expanding to 100 Mtpa.

While Cloudbreak and Christmas Creek are bedded iron formations, not mined elsewhere in the Pilbara at this stage, Solomon has a mix in its iron ore geology and includes what is known as channel iron deposits.

Sydney Mining Club delegates were told that exploration in the Pilbara in the past five years has yielded reserves and resources for Fortescue of 6.3 billion tonnes, including reserves of 1.6 billion tonnes.  The discovery cost was put at A2cents a tonne.

Fortescue dominates the landholdings for iron ore in the Pilbara with 17,400 square kilometres, compared to Rio Tinto with 11,000 sq km and BHP Billiton 6,500 sq km.

Fortescue’s holdings include a large number of coastal and offshore tenements, assumedly for ironsands shed over the eons. The company also holds coastal and offshore tenements in New Zealand for ironsands.

Source  :  www.mineweb.co.za

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PREMIER Colin Barnett may ask the Federal Government to relax foreign worker allowances to prevent labour shortages at major WA projects.

WA faces severe shortages of skilled workers in 2011, when there is expected to be peak activity in WA’s resources sector, Mr Barnett told a media conference in Perth yesterday.

The premier’s comments come as a large Chinese steel maker, Ansteel, contemplates the viability of developing WA’s first steel mill.

Other massive projects planned for the state include Woodside Petroleum Ltd’s Pluto Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project, Chevron’s Gorgon LNG project, a new deep water port at Oakajee and CITIC Pacific’s Sino Iron project.

“I expect we will face serious skills shortages if these projects go together at the same time,” Mr Barnett said.

“Hopefully,  we can build these projects with Australian labour but I expect there will be skill shortages, in particular trades areas.

“We need to be prepared to bring in some of their (Chinese) workers.”

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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A team of Google engineers from Australia has unveiled a prototype replacement for standard email that abandons the reliance on the chronological sorting and stacking of messages which has been the hallmark of one of the internet’s first and still most popular applications.

Christened Google Wave, the new feature was given its first public viewing in San Francisco earlier this morning Australian time at Google’s annual developers’ conference.

“I think you will see a form of interaction that you would not have previously imagined,” Google co-found Sergey Brin told a post-launch press conference.

Wave – which began life as a project codenamed Walkabout – is a combination of email and instant messaging and document-, maps- image- and video-sharing all housed under one roof.

Much like a conference call, it also allows for conversations between more than two people to happen simultaneous.

And because it all happens inside a web browser, there is no special software to download or plug-in – which means it can be used from any computer or internet-enabled mobile phone.

“Our communication space is very fragmented today. We have a million different tools for different things with lots of different kinds of overlaps,” said Lars Rassmussen, a senior software engineer with Google Australia

“The most natural way to try and solve that problem is to take all those different tools and try to make them smaller and fit into a single package and maybe integrate them across the boundaries.”

Wave is being released so that the developers – independent software creators – can help iron out the remaining bugs and cook-up a swag of new uses for the service and the platform upon which it is based ahead of a public release later this year.

But Wave is more than just another of Google’s ubiquitous free web services. It’s also a protocol – meaning that it is going after email’s mantle as the predominant internet communications tool.

And despite the recent growth of web-based email services like Hotmail and Gmail, most of the world’s email runs through Microsoft’s Outlook client.

And to encourage organisations to catch the Wave, Google is offering it up as an open source protocol, meaning that anyone – even a competitor – can box it up and host it on their servers.

Wave is the creation of Danish brothers Lars and Jens Rasmussen, who together with Australian Noel Gordon and Stephen Ma – founded and later sold what became known as Google Maps to Google for an undisclosed sum in 2005.

Lars has worked for Google and lived in Australia since the sale and enticed Jens to leave Google’s headquarters near join him in 2007.

The pair and the Wave team – who have been given the full backing of Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page – have been working on the project out of Google’s offices in Sydney.

Stephen Hutcheon is attending the San Francisco conference as a guest of Google.

Source: www.watoday.com.au

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