Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill Holdings has overlooked its joint venture partners and appointed Samsung C&T as its engineering contractor for the $10 billion Roy Hill iron ore development in the Pilbara.
Roy Hill said the contract award, valued by Samsung at US$5.8 billion, was a significant step forward for the project.
The works include the construction of a processing plant for the 55 million tonne pa mine, a 340 kilometre rail line linking the project to port, a dedicated port stockyard and a purpose built two-berth port facility at Port Hedland.
The company said its board of directors unanimously agreed in 2012 when launching the tender process that it would accept the best proposal.
“With the need for Australia to be cost competitive, the best price for this major work, was and is important for the project,” Roy Hill said in a statement.
Samsung C&T chief executive Yeon-Joo Jung said the appointment was significant for the company.
"Samsung C&T looks forward to executing this landmark project to the highest standard, contributing to the development of Australia and further solidifying the company's reputation as a global solutions provider offering a complete value chain in the field of mining infrastructure development," Mr Yeon-Joo said.
Hancock Prospecting owns a 70 per cent stake in Roy Hill Holdings, which had originally hoped to have funding in place by the middle of 2013.
The remaining 30 per cent of Roy Hill is controlled by Posco, Japanese trader Marubeni, Taiwan's China Steel Corporation and Korean Shipper STX.
It had been widely speculated that Roy Hill would appoint one of its partners as EPC contractor.
Today's announcement comes after engineering group Parsons Brinckerhoff signed on as a project management consultant for Roy Hill earlier this month.
A comprehensive financing deal for Roy Hill is expected to be finalised shortly.
First ore from the Roy Hill project is expected to be produced in the third quarter of 2015, delayed from initial plans for late 2014.