IN THE NEWS: FMG seeks access to Rio Tinto line

FORTESCUE Metals Group Ltd has stepped up its bid to have Pilbara rail networks declared open to third parties. FMG has lodged an application with the National Competition Council, seeking to gain access to Rio Tinto Ltd’s Robe River railway, which runs from Rio’s Mesa J (Deepdale) mine site to its port at Cape Lambert. FMG says access should be granted under Part 3A of the Trade Practices Act 1974. This latest application comes two months after FMG lodged similar declaration applications over Rio’s Hamersley Iron railway network and BHP Billiton’s Goldsworthy railway. Its three-and-a-half-year battle to gain access to BHP Billiton’s Mt Newman line is now before the High Court. FMG executive director Graeme Rowley said the company sought to open “tremendous transport logistic synergies available in the Pilbara to all Australian mining companies”. “There are numerous stranded iron ore deposits in the Pilbara which alone may not be of sufficient scale to support their own infrastructure yet could become viable with access to existing infrastructure such as the Robe River railway,” Mr Rowley said. FMG is just a few months away from the scheduled date of its first iron ore shipment, from its Cloudbreak iron ore mine. FMG is building its own rail link to a new ship berth at Port Hedland.

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