THE on-site construction workforce has doubled at Gina Rinehart’s $10 billion integrated iron ore mining operation Roy Hill, after substantial funding from global and national sources consolidated confidence in the project’s future.
Australia’s richest person contributed the latest $251.6 million lump sum payment in mid January via a subsidiary of her company Hancock Prospecting, Hanrine Holdings.
The payment followed several significant loans secured in December: particularly a US$694.4 million loan approved by the Export-Import Bank of the US, to Roy Hill Holdings, on the condition that equipment would be purchased from US companies such as Caterpillar, Atlas Copco and GE.
Joint venture partners, Japanese company Marubeni and China Steel Corporation – whose ownership at Roy Hill totals 30 per cent – have also made significant down payments across recent months, in conjunction with funding from Korean sources, EximBank and the Korea Trade Insurance Corporation.
Hancock Prospecting maintains majority stakes, with 70 per cent ownership of the project.
Funding totalling $7 billion is required to get the Pilbara mine, port and rail joint venture off the ground.
Although the project is yet to secure this final amount, the project is very likely to go ahead, with project management currently conducting negotiations with Japanese export credit agencies for the remaining funding.
With the increasingly robust financial backing, Roy Hill has given the go-ahead for the bulk of construction work. The mine site experienced an influx of workers in January, with an estimated 1700 people deployed onsite.
Roy Hill aims to begin producing iron ore in 2015 before ramping up to its 55 million tonne per annum capacity.