Murchison backs Western Australia port and rail plan

Murchison Metals has welcomed the decision of the WA Government to establish an open process for the development of infrastructure in the State’s Mid-West region. “The infrastructure selection process outlined by the Government means that economic feasibility, capability and timeliness will be major factors in deciding who will build the port and rail infrastructure.

WA Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan announced that the right to construct the port would be subject to a contestable process, limited to the two mining companies (Murchison and Midwest Corp) who have requested this right. “These companies could nominate in their own right or through a nominated infrastructure provider.

The Minister also announced that WestNet Rail will be given the opportunity to develop a link into Oakajee thereby ensuring a connection between Oakajee and Geraldton ports and with all the rail in the region. Ms MacTiernan said that the State Government would identify a corridor for the rail line connecting Jack Hills and the Weld Range mines to Mullewa. However, the Minister also said that if the proponents elected to build their own rail line all the way to Oakajee, the WA Government would identify a suitable corridor and co-ordinate approvals with the cost of these being borne by the proponent(s) who proceeded to build.

Murchison Executive Chairman Paul Kopejtka said the Government announcement provided the clarity and transparency that was required for such an important infrastructure development. “The process announced by the Government is the correct mechanism to provide a way forward and give confidence to the miners, the Geraldton Port Authority and investors in the region that this important project will actually be built.”

“We believe that Oakajee Port & Rail (OPR) – Murchison’s 50-50 infrastructure joint venture with Mitsubishi – has a very robust development plan that will deliver outstanding value and service to iron ore miners and other customers in the mid-west region,” he said. “Our project planning is at a very advanced stage, including major engineering studies. With the backing of Murchison and Mitsubishi, OPR is in a very strong position to submit a banked project for an open access rail and port project in the shortest possible timeframe.”

OPR has already conducted advanced studies on the port and rail infrastructure and has completed a one-year environmental baseline study on its proposed rail corridor and at the Oakajee Port. “We look forward to working with the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure as she oversees the process which will deliver infrastructure that will guarantee the future economic prosperity of the Mid-West region,” said Kopejtka.