PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Iron-ore developer Flinders Mines on Monday welcomed the Western Australian government’s backing for the construction of a new railway line in the region.
At the end of December, the Western Australian government invited ASX-listed Rutila Resources to negotiate a state agreement for the construction of a railway in the Pilbara, linking the Balla Balla port with the proposed 25-million-tonne-a-year Pilbara iron-ore project, being developed by Flinders.
Flinders last year signed an agreement with the Balla Balla joint venture (JV), which Rutila manages, for the provision of rail and port services for the proposed iron-ore project.
Flinders MD Ian Gordon said on Monday that Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett’s railway line approval had injected new confidence into ongoing efforts to complete a bankable feasibility study for the development of the Pilbara project.
“With a clearer path to market via a state agreement and a positive result from the bankable feasibility study, we will be able to determine the returns to our company’s shareholders and be in a position to make an informed decision on whether to proceed with the project,” said Gordon.
“Once a positive final investment decision is achieved and financing available, the Pilbara iron-ore project production is expected to start in late 2017 or early in 2018.”
Meanwhile, front-end engineering and design was under way for the proposed rail and port facilities to support the Pilbara project, and subject to the final investment decision, construction of these was likely to start in the fourth quarter of 2015.
The required access with native title participants, pastoralists and mining tenement holders have been largely completed.