A $61 million investment in the Yilgarn region by Iron Ore company Macarthur Minerals could see them opt to utilise Cliffs’ infrastructure, according to the company’s research report.
The company’s iron ore projects in the region are directly adjacent to Cliffs Natural Resources’ Koolyanobbing operations, with just 80 kilometres between them.
In the report released on Monday, February 12, the company address the projects’ proximity to the Esperance Port, detailing plans to use the location for their export.
Currently, the projects are 100 kilometres from the Eastern Goldfields Railway, providing a direct connection to the Esperance Port that the report suggests would make it possible to undertake exports in the “near future”.
With iron ore resources predicted to be depleted at the Koolyanobbing site, the company said it could ‘open up an opportunity’ to utilise the state rail network and add to the existing infrastructure.
Macarthur Minerals executive chairman Cameron McCall confirmed the company would like to gain access to the rail network but would not disclose the current status of the works.
“[Macarthur Minerals] have invested in defining a resource and getting environmental approval,” he said.
“We conducted a pre feasibility study in 2012, which is a little bit redundant now because it involved building a haul road to the East and taking it by rail to Menzies.
“Now, we would like to explore taking it to the west via an existing train line to the port and we have visited Esperance Port to explore that option.
“We would like to gain access to the existing rail.”
Mr McCall said the project’s start date was highly dependent on access to the Port and that the company would welcome government support.
“Although we have not sought anything at this point, we would welcome the government’s full support for any road, rail or mining approvals that we may need.”
There has been no formal announcement made by Cleveland-Cliffs since the closure was discussed in an earnings call on January 25.
The Esperance Chamber of Commerce have confirmed key stakeholders in the region including the Port of Esperance, the Goldfields Esperance Development Commission, and the Shire of Esperance are working together to identify opportunities to expand the infrastructure in the region, including the rail and Port facilities.