In Brief: No Pilbara tenements

MINING tenements in the iron ore rich Pilbara region have all been secured, after a land-grab triggered by Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. All ground in the Pilbara that was prospective for minerals had either been granted or was under application, spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Industry and Resources said. FMG chief financial officer Chris Catlow said junior and mid-tier iron ore companies had scrambled to secure Pilbara landholdings. He said this had happened since Fortescue started publicly challenging Rio Tinto Ltd and BHP Billiton Ltd to open up their railways in the region to third parties. “It’s hard to get hold of ground,” Mr Catlow said. “Clearly, people are now only interested in looking for iron ore in the Pilbara because there is a prospect of being able to ship it out on open-access infrastructure.” Murchison Metals Ltd, which has a modest iron ore mining operation in WA’s Mid West, was recently caught up in the Pilbara activity, securing 400 square kilometres of tenements between Tom Price and Paraburdoo. Murchison managing director Trevor Matthews said the company was seeking more landholdings in the Pilbara and would approach private holders of tenements in the region. “It doesn’t mean we’re taking our eye off the ball in the Mid West,” he said. “It’s good to have geographic diversification...for risk mitigation.”

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