Australian mining company Atlas Iron has secured board approval for the $146m project to develop its Mt Webber iron ore mine located in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

The company also concluded the required agreements with its joint venture partner, Altura Mining, to progress the mine development.

Mt Webber mine, located 230km via road south-southeast of Port Hedland, has already received environmental approval, clearing the way for the company to begin immediate development works.

Atlas said that the mining operations at the site will start during the December quarter of 2013, and first ore shipment expected in the June quarter of 2014.

Mt Webber has an initial mine life of 18 years at a 3mtpa production rate. The company is targeting an increased production rate of 6mtpa in the second stage of development.

Atlas managing director Ken Brinsden said, "The decision to develop Mt Webber represents another key milestone for Atlas. Mt Webber is the largest of our Horizon 1 mines and provides us with high quality, long life production which will enable us to reach our targeted 12Mtpa production rate by the June quarter of 2014."