ABB wins $26 million contract for Fortescue’s Iron Bridge Magnetite Project in Australia

Order includes ABB water-cooled variable speed drives and high voltage induction motors that will deliver industry-leading energy efficiency.

Birdseye view of the camp construction at Iron Bridge
Birdseye view of the camp construction at Iron Bridge

The Iron Bridge Magnetite Project, an unincorporated joint venture between Fortescue’s subsidiary FMG Magnetite Pty Ltd and Formosa Steel IB (Iron Bridge Joint Venture), covers the development of a new magnetite mine, including processing and transport facilities. Located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, the mine is expected to produce 22 million wet tonnes per annum of high grade, magnetite concentrate used for steel production.

As part of the project, the Iron Bridge Joint Venture require a cost-effective energy efficient variable speed drive solution. These drives, to be installed in eight switch rooms, operate with a separate transformer that is located outside the room. This reduces the heat generated inside, resulting in less energy required to maintain the 25°C room temperature.

ABB’s water-cooled drives also directly support a higher voltage 33kV network. This eliminates the need for a lower voltage intermediate switchboard and additional components, which ultimately reduces the total cost of the project.

Iron Bridge also selected ABB high voltage induction motors to power high pressure grinding rolls, grinding mills and baghouse fans used to separate the ore from the dust. Engineered to withstand harsh conditions, the motors offer high power efficiency, but in a frame size smaller than competitive alternatives. With a compact footprint, these motors are energy efficient, save space and require less structural foundation.

“We have worked closely with the Iron Bridge team to ensure that we delivered an energy efficient, reliable and innovative solution,” said Mike Briggs, Business Manager for ABB Motion, Australia. “We are especially pleased to have won both the drive and the motor business and look forward to continuing our strong relationship with Fortescue beyond the delivery of this project and supporting them throughout the mine’s lifecycle.”

Fortescue is one of the world’s largest iron ore producers. The $2.6 billion project is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 110,000 talented employees in over 100 countries.


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