A $183 million pipeline that will enable Fortescue Metals Group to lower costs by switching from diesel to gas at its Solomon Hub in the Pilbara has been completed.
Developer DPB Development Group said the 270km Fortescue River Gas Pipeline was finished about 10 weeks late under a tight schedule but met Fortescue's requirements.
It is the longest gas pipeline to be built in the Pilbara for a decade. The infrastructure connects Solomon to the Dampier-to-Bunbury natural gas pipeline, allowing the iron ore hub's 125 megawatt TransAlta power station to be converted. Solomon comprises the Firetail and Kings mines.
Fortescue has a 20-year, 100 per cent take-or-pay gas transportation agreement with DPB and joint venture partner TEC Pilbara, a subsidiary of Canadian power generator TransAlta.
DPB is a unit of ASX-listed DUET Group and controls the Dampier-to-Bunbury pipeline. The pipeline is the second DBP has built, after finishing the 110km Wheatstone Ashburton West Pipeline last December.
Chief executive Stuart Johnston said the Fortescue pipeline was one of the Pilbara's most important pieces of energy infrastructure.
"The FRGP will help meet the current energy needs of mining projects in Pilbara, as well as facilitating further development opportunities and facilitating both cost reduction and resource project export productivity," Mr Johnston said.
TransAlta chief executive Dawn Farrell said: "The completion of the pipeline provides an opportunity for future expansion in the Pilbara region and is consistent with TransAlta's strategy of growing in its core regions and diversifying its cash flows."
The main contractors on the FRGP project were Monadelphous KT and Enerflex Process.