Sinosteel look to revive WA mining project

China Australia Journalist Exchange fellow Petrina Berry writes for AAP

Published 22/11/2013

CHINESE metals giant Sinosteel will meet with business partners to revive the perpetually stalled West Australian Oakajee iron ore project.

Delays in building infrastructure and mounting costs has plagued the Oakajee project.

SinoSteel mineral resources’ deputy director WenLiang Pan says without rail and a deep water port near Geraldton, the project cannot advance.

“We have been doing a feasibility research for quite a long time and our findings is that it’s really difficult and hard to work with several companies and entreprises to solve problem of infrastructure,” Mr Pan told reporters in Beijing.

“Next week we will discuss it in deep (detail) in Sydney.

“We think the only way out is proceed successfully with infrastructure.”

He said Sinosteel has poured $1.4 billion (this is in US dollars Aussie dollar has parity) into the project already and other mining giants have locked the company out of mining hematite iron ore in other parts of the state.

“We may consider some areas of the coastline and we also have to consider the value of the project we have to think of the closer deposits of higher value,” he said.

For more than two decades miners have tried to develop a port near Geraldton to export millions of tonnes of iron ore to China.

The Japanese backers pulled the plug on the Oakajee port and rail project earlier this year suspending all work on the development.

It’s not known whether Murchison and Mitsubishi still consider Oakajee, in WA’s emerging Mid-West iron ore province, to be viable.

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