30/07/2008 - 14:07

Mitsubishi may up stake in Oakajee port

30/07/2008 - 14:07

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

Murchison Metals Ltd's equal joint venture partner for the Oakajee port development and Jack Hills iron ore mine in Western Australia, Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation, says it could be interested in taking a controlling stake in the ventures.

Murchison Metals Ltd's equal joint venture partner for the Oakajee port development and Jack Hills iron ore mine in Western Australia, Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation, says it could be interested in taking a controlling stake in the ventures.

The joint venture company for the infrastructure proposal, Oakajee Port & Rail Pty Ltd, was selected yesterday by the WA government as the preferred tenderer to develop a deepwater port and associated rail infrastructure in the mid west region of the state.

Mitsubishi Development Pty Ltd vice-president iron ore division Saburo Takeuchi told a media teleconference today that the Japanese giant "would always be interested in having more economic interest borne out of commercial negotiations with Murchison".

"Having said that, we are very comfortable with the relationship with Murchison," Mr Takeuchi said.

"Fifty-fifty joint ventures can be relatively difficult in practice.

"But we have other 50:50 joint ventures around the globe, and to date it has been a very amicable relationship."

The proposed port will service new and expanded mines in the mid-west region and address congestion at nearby Geraldton Port.

The new port is expected to be completed by 2013.

Meanwhile OPR chief executive Christopher Eves said it was unlikely the state government will choose another party to develop the associated rail infrastructure for the Oakajee port.

Reports circulating today suggest OPR's only competitor in the tender process, the Mid West Corporation Ltd and China backed Yilgarn Infrastructure Ltd will vie for railway network linking the region's mines to the port.

'We believe for commercial reasons, both in terms of its operations and its financing that it is not commercially feasible to have a separate rail asset owner from the port asset owner," Mr Eves said.

"We believe the sensible commercial solution is, and indeed will be that the group that develops the port, which will be OPR, will also develop the rail.

'The government policy is consistent with that; to be frank we haven't really sat down and discussed with them the detail of the rail yet, that process is commencing and is underway.

"But our proposal in relation to the port and in respect to which we have been selected as the preferred proponent makes that point clear, so that was our proposal to government and on that basis we've been selected.'

OPR yesterday said the entire development project would cost $3.5 billion however today refused to confirm that figure, saying it would need to finalise contracts with various contractors before a total figure would be released.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options