IOCA names REGROUP Australia as preferred primary contractor for Hancock iron ore project

Alien Metals Ltd’s wholly-owned subsidiary Iron Ore Company of Australia Pty Ltd (IOCA) has named REGROUP Australia as its preferred primary contractor to undertake the construction works, mining operations and haulage services for its flagship Hancock iron ore project in the Pilbara of Western Australia.

IOCA has conducted a competitive market engagement over the previous six months to identify commercially and technically adept contractors to undertake works as part of the Hancock development and operations. This process has involved pre-qualified and targeted proponents submitting bids for specific scopes of works and agreeing to key commercial terms.

REGROUP is, Alien Metals says, a highly renowned and experienced civil construction, mining operator and haulier, having executed projects that exceed A$100 million ($64 million) on multiple occasions. It operates one of the largest privately and independently owned fleets in Western Australia, with clients that include Newcrest Mining, Roy Hill and Element 25.

The selection of REGROUP allows the company to update its financial model as part of the definitive feasibility study (DFS) work streams, Alien Metals says.

As part of the preferred construction contractor award, REGROUP would be in charge of construction of an intersection of the project area at the Great Northern Highway and construction of an access track from the Great Northern Highway to the mine site.

REGROUP has also been selected as the preferred operations contractor for:

  • Mining services (that is inclusive of any drilling and blasting activities); and
  • Haulage services for the haulage of ore from the mine site to Port Hedland.

The award of this contract remains subject to the completion of a positive DFS, approvals, funding and the Board making a final investment decision.

The 2021 scoping study on Hancock showcased a 1.25 Mt/y production profile that would sustain an eight-year life of mine with current resources. The company has said it plans to make its first shipments in 2023, leveraging its direct shipping ore options.

Troy Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer of Alien, said: “Securing REGROUP as a key contractor for the Hancock project is a significant milestone for the company…This is the first step in locking in relationships with contractors on the back of the IOCA sourcing process, securing competitive pricing from contractors, which moves planning for the project forward.

“We are excited to partner with REGROUP, a company that shares our values. REGROUP has set the goal of becoming carbon neutral via the use of a fully battery-powered fleet and the utilisation of solar and wind to help power their sites. That combined with their commitment to advancing indigenous businesses, notably through the championing of Maramara in Western Australia, a majority Indigenous-owned Pty Ltd company, is one of the reasons why we teamed up with REGROUP.”

Michael Still, Managing Director of REGROUP, said: “REGROUP is looking forward to working with IOCA, firstly in the establishment of their mine, as well as the long-term success of the operations from pit to port. We also see a great opportunity to support First Nations business, Maramara, in delivering the civil scope of this exciting project. We would utilise our expertise as a Pilbara-based business and being a partner of a values-based miner such as IOCA, we are eager to see the impact we know this project will have on the Pilbara communities.

“In being a greenfields site, the Hancock project lends itself well to autonomous and electrified solutions for both the mining and bulk haulage fleet. We will continue to work with our partners in Scania and Janus to integrate new and emerging technologies where practical, both on-site and in Port Hedland. The consolidation of the construction and operational activities under one group will facilitate speed to market for IOCA and provides us with the opportunity to embed our expertise early in the project.”