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Fortescue plays down Patrick rumour on Pilbara rail and port facilities

<p>The Fortescue Metals Group has played down reports that it is in discussion with Patrick Corporation over plans for its $1.95bn Pilbara iron ore rail and port infrastructure.</p> <p>Fortescue’s executive director of operations, Graeme Rowley, said the company was in discussions with a number of key players about the project but declined to rule Patrick in or out of those interested parties.</p> <p>"We are in discussion with a number of infrastructure players, but we are not prepared to say who they are," Mr Rowley said.</p> <p>Media reports naming Patrick appear to stem from recent comments made by Fortescue chief executive Andrew Forrest.</p> <p>Mr Forrest had commented that Patrick’s publicly stated prior interest in the Hope Downs project, meant he would not be surprised to see them taking an interest in a project like Fortescue’s, Mr Rowley said. </p> <p>"Those comments have been taken somewhat out of context," he said.</p> <p>Fortescue is hoping to finalise its funding statement on its infrastructure by September.</p> <p>The company was planning to retain a stake in its port and rail infrastructure, but was intending that another party or parties would be responsible for their operation, Mr Rowley said.</p> <p>The infrastructure will be designed for open access.</p> <br />