AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Junior Pilbara miners unite to iron out access bumps

<p>Junior iron ore miners in the Pilbara of Western Australia have formed an alliance in a bid to lobby government and incumbent infrastructure owners for rail and port access.</p> <p>The so-called Pilbara Iron Ore Alliance could represent up to 14 prospective miners in the region. </p> <p>One of the more advanced miners, Atlas Iron, wants to begin shipping 1m tonnes of iron ore each year from its Pardoo Project, 75 km from Port Hedland, by March 2008. </p> <p>Atlas plans to push production to 3m tonnes each year by 2010 once upgrades to Port Hedland are complete.</p> <p>Atlas managing director David Flanagan has previously pushed for the alliance to form, and is understood to have lobbied fellow junior miners Cazaly and United Minerals to establish the group.</p> <p>The group will look to unite on issues of rail haulage, development approvals, community issues and common-user infrastructure.</p> <p>Mr Flanagan confirmed to <em>Lloyd’s List DCN</em> this morning (Monday, February 19) that mining companies with &#8220aligned interests&#8221 had met.</p> <p>&#8220We can appoint a chairman who can represent the interests of the group,&#8221 Mr Flanagan said.</p> <p>&#8220This is not designed to be limiting but instead it’s an opportunity.&#8221</p> <p>He declined to discuss the alliance further, other than to say that it would be similar to the Geraldton Iron Ore Alliance, which has performed a similar role for Midwest mining companies since its launch last year.</p> <p><em>The Age</em> reported this morning that the Pilbara miners had met in Perth last week, but the meeting did not include Fortescue Metals Group &#8211 which has fought an ongoing battle for third party rail access. </p> <p>The newspaper said that Fortescue was not invited to join the group because it would have its own port facilities and would now be one of the groups that alliance members would have to deal with.</p> <p><em>Lloyd’s List DCN</em> was unable to obtain comment from Fortescue early this afternoon (Monday, February 19).</p> <br />