Darren Margerison joined the Sino Iron project in 2014, when construction and commissioning was really starting to pump up on the Concentrator — the heart of the operation, where magnetite ore is transformed into premium magnetite concentrate.
Since then, the Senior Electrical Compliance Inspector of Operations Support in Sino Iron’s processing department has seen the Concentrator come to life — with all six processing lines now in operation.
Darren says the project is unique, which not only makes it an exciting place to work, but differentiates Sino Iron from the vast majority of mine sites across Western Australia.
“Magnetite will be the way of the future – we definitely see ourselves as pioneers,” Darren says.
“The sheer size and scope of the project alone makes it incredibly valuable to Western Australia.”
Magnetite is a form of iron ore that can be used to produce higher quality steel than hematite, the other common form of iron ore found in Western Australia.
The most magnetic of all the naturally occurring minerals on Earth, magnetite is unsuitable for steel in its natural form.
But advanced processing using Sino Iron’s Concentrator separates out other minerals, leaving almost pure magnetite concentrate, which is highly sought after by steel producers.
Advanced processing means the final concentrate releases fewer carbon emissions in steel production and the premium quality steel that results can command higher prices.
Darren believes the success of Sino Iron’s unique processing operation could be replicated in future projects throughout Australia.
“The processing plant transforms low-grade ore into a high-grade product,” he says.
“Many people wouldn’t realise that this project, thanks to the Concentrator and related infrastructure such as the power and desalination plant, has brought a major manufacturing industry to the Pilbara and WA.”
Darren says Western Australia continues to benefit from the large number of people employed both directly and indirectly by project owner CITIC Pacific Mining.
He believes the Sino Iron project has the potential to transform the iron ore sector and to sustain export growth and employment for years to come.
“Into the future, the project has the potential to expand and we’ll need many more people to work with us,” he says.
“Every day we see what this project does and how important it is to WA’s resources future. We’re all committed to seeing it grow.”