Mineral Resources (MinRes) and Hancock Prospecting have teamed up to investigate the development of a new iron ore export facility at Port Hedland’s South West Creek in Western Australia.
Roy Hill is also involved in the venture and will assist in the development and operation of the project once up and running.
Located at Stanley Point berth 3, the export facility would provide MinRes with a port and haulage solution to deliver ore mined from the company’s deposits to Port Hedland.
According to MinRes, optimising haulage solutions is key to the company maximising its iron ore shipments out of Port Hedland.
The export facility would enable the company to unlock its stranded assets in the Pilbara region of WA.
“We are pleased to have entered into the port and rail agreement with Hancock and Roy Hill. This partnership and infrastructure sharing is the first of its kind in the Australian resources industry and would enable significant value to be unlocked for MinRes in a sustainable manner,” MinRes managing director Chris Ellison said.
“Our long-stated strategy is to transition from short-life, high-cost mines to lower-cost, long-life operations underpinned by innovative infrastructure solutions. Developing our stranded assets will provide additional growth for MinRes’ unique mining services build-own-operate model.”
An approval process will take place before the project can commence development, with the Pilbara Ports Authority and Western Australia Government to be consulted.
MinRes and Hancock will also need to commit to a final investment decision following the completion of a feasibility study on the project.
At MinRes’ 2021 annual general meeting (AGM), Ellison said his company had the capacity to weather the iron ore storm, which has seen prices tumble to below $US90 ($126) per tonne in the back half of 2021.
Ellison said the situation had been compounded by labour shortage-related headaches, but believes the company is coming out of it stronger.
“The last couple of years have been fairly tough, we’ve been in different conditions that we’ve never operated in before,” he said.
“We’re getting the hang of it now, it’s all around managing our people and it’s certainly going to get a lot tougher going forward than it has over the last 12 months.
“The challenge is out there but it’s not my first rodeo, it’s not my second. I think we’ll work through this, we’ll grow the business, and we’ll keep developing with all the commodities we have in the mining services sector.”