Karara comprises a large-scale, long-life magnetite orebody amenable to bulk mining and processing.

Magnetite ore has lower iron content (34-36% Fe) than hematite ore (58-64% Fe). It must be upgraded by a complex ore treatment process (beneficiation) to produce a high-grade (+65% Fe) concentrate for steelmaking.

Its magnetic properties enable magnetite to be refined to a premium concentrate product that is globally accepted and highly sought after as to produce high quality, low impurity steel.

The treatment and beneficiation of magnetite ore requires crushing, screening, high-pressure grinding, magnetic separation, filtering and drying to produce a premium, high iron grade concentrate with very low impurities.

Further processing by Karara’s customers involves the agglomeration and thermal treatment of concentrate to produce pellets, which can be used directly in either a blast furnace or direct reduction steelmaking plant.

The additional “up-front” and higher costs involved with the extra processing required to produce magnetite concentrate is offset by the significant price premiums that high grade, high-quality concentrate commands from steel mills, compared to conventional (hematite) benchmark iron ore products.


The early development of Karara was supported through the exploitation of small-scale satellite deposits of hematite iron ore. Australia’s iron ore industry is historically based on the mining, production and export of high-grade hematite iron ore. Hematite ore makes up the bulk of Australia’s iron ore production and of the global seaborne trade in iron ore. High-grade hematite which can be shipped directly to customers after simple processing (crushing, screening, sorting and blending) is often referred to as ‘Direct Shipping Ore’ or DSO.

The satellite hematite orebodies at Karara that were known to be economic have been mined and are now exhausted.

Local Content Policy

As a significant partner within the regional community, we recognise that Karara has the potential to support, enable or generate diverse and sustainable opportunities across the community including business development, skills development, direct and indirect employment, contracting, and the supply of goods, materials and services. We are always interested to receive expressions of interest from potential suppliers of goods or services at any of our locations at the mine, the Port of Geraldton or in our Perth office.

Under our Local Content Policy commitments, we undertake to:

  • Invite local/regional businesses to tender and ensure equal opportunity for participation in our business under consistent terms, standards and conditions for all tenderers.
  • Work with local government, industry advocates and businesses to provide commercial or other feedback to assist the development of local businesses.
  • Provide transparent information to local businesses as early as possible about potential procurement, supply or service opportunities and tendering requirements.
  • Promote and support opportunities for the participation of indigenous workers, indigenous businesses and indigenous community groups.
  • Consider the capability of local businesses in the development of procurement strategies and contract work scopes to identify and support opportunities to increase local content.
  • Ensure that local content is a key evaluation criterion in the Karara’s tender and contract award processes and to maintain data and reporting on local content activities and performance.
  • Give preference to tenderers who are able to demonstrate the capacity to develop local capability and increase local content in labour or materials, where comparative bids may be determined as acceptable based on safety, commercial, and technical requirements.
  • Prioritise safety in all contract review and award processes so that safety performance and outcomes are enhanced through any supply engagement.


Karara is the largest mining operation in the Mid West region and one of only two operating magnetite mines in WA. The mine is located 220 kilometres south-east of Geraldton in the Shire of Perenjori.

Karara has a multi-billion tonne mineral resource to sustain a long life (+30 years) operation. It comprises a large, complex and fully integrated mining, processing and transport logistics operation designed to produce 8 Mtpa of premium, high-grade magnetite concentrate for export to China for use in steelmaking.

Magnetite ore is mined from a large scale (15 m bench height) open pit mine in a traditional load and haul mining operation using conventional face shovels, large capacity (230 tonne) off-road haul trucks, a fleet of large diameter blast-hole drill rigs and a range of ancillary mobile mining equipment.


Magnetite ore known as Run-of-Mine (ROM) material is direct dumped by haul trucks from the mine into the primary crusher. Primary and secondary crushers crush the ROM ore to a product size of <60 mm. The crushed ore is then transferred to the Coarse Ore Stockpile (COS), which has a holding capacity of >500,000 tonnes of material for downstream processing.

Ore material from the COS is reclaimed by conveyor into a parallel train of two High-Pressure Grinding Rolls (HPGR’s), which grind the ore to a size of <4 mm.
Ore material of <4 mm from the HPGRs is pumped in a slurry to stage one magnetic separation. A high magnetic field allows separation of non-magnetic material to tailings. Magnetic material remains as a concentrate and is transferred to the primary grinding plant.

The primary grinding plant of four balls mills grinds the ore in slurry to fine particle sizes of <50 µm before further magnetic separation to produce a concentrated magnetite ore stream, with elevated Fe grades of ~58%.

Upgrading to final product specification occurs in the flotation circuit. Concentrate is filtered to achieve moisture levels <10% and a final, premium concentrate product with Fe grades of +65%. Product is transferred by rail to Karara’s Export Terminal at the Port of Geraldton.

The bulk of tailings material generated in the ore treatment process is filtered for dry tails stacking. There is reduced discharge of tailings to Karara’s wet tailings storage facility (TSF), or tailings dam. This enables us to maximise water recovery and minimise the environmental impact and footprint of tailings material.


Since project inception, Karara has invested a total of >AUD$4 billion in the initial establishment of critical infrastructure and in ongoing capital and other infrastructure requirements. Surplus capacity has been built in to cater for any potential future expansion of the operation.

Our critical infrastructure and logistics chain include:

  • An 80 km rail spur, connecting the Karara Mine to the common-user rail system;
  • Upgrade of common-user rail system section between Karara and Geraldton;
  • A 180 km 330 kV power transmission line from Eneabba to connect Karara with the south-west power grid;
  • A 140 km water pipeline to supply process water from a dedicated bore-field; and
  • The Karara Export Terminal at the Port of Geraldton, able to handle up to 16 Mtpa of export product from a dedicated berth, with associated rail and train unloading infrastructure.

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