Fortescue Metals Group Extreme Weather Events Risk Assessment Project


Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) is an iron ore producer operating in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The company was established in 2003 with the Cloudbreak mine ore processing and transport infrastructure constructed between 2006 - 2008 and more recently a second mine was established at Christmas Creek.

Fortescue has a long-standing expansion target of 155 million tonnes per annum, to be reached by 2014. To achieve this target, the expansion program involves increasing existing mining operations and construction of new mines and supporting facilities. Ore processing facilities and other supporting infrastructure (including roads, rail and port facilities, work camps and containment dams) are elements of the expansion plan.

The mine expansion considered the impacts of extreme weather events on the operation and risks to infrastructure investments and ensured that design parameters reflected a changing climate to 2030. This project addressed all climate-exposed components of the company’s operations, including: its staff; infrastructure and operational procedures; reviewed current design criteria thresholds; determined climate projections and extreme weather event scenarios; identified risks and developed action plans.

Risks and Impacts Addressed 
Low, medium and high climate change projections for the 2030 planning horizon were developed using the most recent published and emerging non-published information available for the following five key climate variables:

·         Sea level

·         Cyclone intensity and frequency

·         Storm surge

·         Rainfall intensity frequency and duration

·         Temperature.

Drivers for Adaptation Action 

Over many years, Fortescue has undertaken significant and associated infrastructure expansion. In 2011, the project was conducted with the need to ensure design parameters were robust despite a changing climate.

Outcomes Achieved 

·         Scenarios of key climate parameters at a regional scale

·         Critical climate change risks integrated into the company’s corporate risk register.

Pilbara region
Critical Success Factors