FORTESCUE Metals Group has lost a bid to block an iron ore junior’s access to its Pilbara railway in a WA Supreme Court decision handed down last month.

In 2013 Brockman Mining submitted a proposal for access to the rail, owned by Fortescue subsidiary The Pilbara Infrastructure (TPI), under the state’s
third-party access laws. While the rail was built under a state agreement that required TPI to promote third party access, Fortescue called Brockman’s proposal invalid and began proceedings against Brockman’s application in October last year.

The Supreme Court last month dismissed Fortescue’s claim, allowing Brockman to pursue its access ambitions with the WA Economic Regulatory Authority and TPI.

In a statement, Brockman said it would take the next necessary steps to obtain an access agreement with TPI.
“This favourable decision is a significant step forward for Brockman in its bid to commercialise its East Pilbara projects,” the statement said.

“This decision…will greatly assist future access seekers in their bid to gain genuine market rail access.” Fortescue chief executive Nev Power said the company would appeal the decision. “Fortescue is a strong proponent of third party access to infrastructure and is the only company to have provided junior miners access to its Pilbara rail and port infrastructure, having shipped more than 12 million tonnes of iron ore for third parties,” he said.

“However, as Fortescue has consistently maintained, TPI cannot be expected to subsidise third-party projects that are uneconomic.”