Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd and Mineral Resources Ltd have entered into a legally binding agreement under which they will jointly investigate the potential to develop a new iron ore export facility at Port Hedland’s Stanley Point berth 3 in South West Creek.
The agreement would see Roy Hill Holdings, a Hancock subsidiary, provide services to both MRL and Hancock for development and operation of the project, including rail haulage and port services.
MRL said: “The project aligns with MRL’s strategy to unlock stranded deposits in the Pilbara by developing pit-to-port solutions and expanding its capability to be a long-term, low-cost sustainable supplier of iron ore to international markets.”
Hancock and MRL will conduct an expedited study to assess the economic and technical feasibility of the proposed project in the coming months, to usual market standards, they said.
In addition, Hancock and MRL will seek to undertake discussions with the Government of Western Australia and the Pilbara Ports Authority (PPA) in relation to the potential project. It is acknowledged that in order for the proposed project to proceed, the parties would need to first receive a development approval and a capacity allocation for the project from the PPA to jointly develop and operate Stanley Point berth 3 and other associated supporting port infrastructure.
MRL Managing Director, Chris Ellison (pictured in shot with Hancock Prospecting Executive Chair, Gina Rinehart on screen), said this partnership and infrastructure sharing proposal is the first-of-its-kind in the Australian resources industry and would enable significant value to be unlocked for the company in a sustainable manner.
“Our long-stated strategy is to transition from short-life, high-cost mines to lower-cost, long-life operations underpinned by innovative infrastructure solutions,” he said. “Developing our stranded assets will provide additional growth for MRL’s unique mining services build-own-operate model.”
The project will be subject to a final investment decision by both parties, and other necessary approvals and agreements (including a lease, licence and an infrastructure development agreement or similar) from the PPA on agreed terms.