Atlas' iron project delayed to December

22/07/2008 - 09:41

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First production at Atlas Iron Ltd's Pardoo project has been delayed by to December after it lodged an appeal over conditions recommended by the Environmental Protection Authority.

Atlas' iron project delayed to December

First production at Atlas Iron Ltd's Pardoo project has been delayed to December after it lodged an appeal over conditions recommended by the Environmental Protection Authority.

Atlas said recent advice from the state government's Appeals Convener in relation to its appeal had prompted it to reschedule first iron ore production from October to December.

"The appeal is based on matters which Atlas and the EPA in its Project Approval Bulletin consider have been adequately addressed by both parties during the Public Environmental Review period," Atlas said.

"Atlas therefore expects the appeal to be dealt with expediently by the Appeals Convener and the Minister for Environment."

Atlas plans to export 1 million tonnes of the bulk commodity during the first 12 months of Pardoo's operation, which will then be ramped up to 6Mtpa of iron ore in 2010 after its nearby Abydos project comes online.

"We view Pardoo as a ten year project so a delay of a few weeks, while regrettable, is just another step in the process and will have limited financial impact on the company," managing director David Flanagan said.

Below is the announcement:

Atlas Iron Limited (ASX Code: AGO) is currently developing the Pardoo Iron Ore Project, located 75 kilometres east of Port Hedland in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Recent developments include;

An appeal has been lodged with respect to conditions recommended by Environmental Protection Authority's Pardoo Project Bulletin. Based on Atlas' interpretation of recent advice received from the State Government's Appeals Convener in relation to this appeal it appears likely that it will result in a delay to the target date for first iron ore export from the project from October 2008 to December 2008.

The appeal is based on matters which Atlas and the EPA in its Project Approval Bulletin consider have been adequately addressed by both parties during the Public Environmental Review period. Atlas therefore expects the appeal to be dealt with expediently by the Appeals Convener and the Minister for Environment.

In the interim development works for the Pardoo Project are continuing with the award of the Haulage Contractor to International Energy Services (Gould's Transport), an existing road-train haulage provider based in Port Hedland. The Tender for the haulage scope of works was highly competitive and Atlas has received competitive pricing for the intra-mine and port haulage services.

The final remaining major contracts for the Project's development are at a mature stage, with the preferred contractors having being established for interim and longer term crushing works. Castle Equipment, a Western Australian based plant provider will mobilise a mobile crushing and screening plant to the Pardoo site for the commencement of crushing and screening operations. In the interim, negotiations are very close to finalisation for the larger plant supporting ongoing and expanded operations at Pardoo.

Negotiations pertaining to access to port facilities with Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) are continuing and following completion of those negotiations binding agreements will be entered into with off-take partner(s). Demand for Atlas' products remains extremely high and the Company looks forward to announcing the preferred off-take partner(s) in due course.

"We view Pardoo as a ten year project so a delay of a few weeks, while regrettable, is just another step in the process and will have limited financial impact on the Company." commented David Flanagan, Atlas' Managing Director. "We look forward to the Appeals Convener dealing with the appeal in a timely manner, in the mean time the team are working to further expand our resources and reserves and get first ore on a ship by Christmas."

 

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