Fortescue Metals Group said it will fight a court decision which has ruled in favour of a junior mining company accessing its rail infrastructure.
Brockman Mining is seeking access to the Pilbara railway, owned by FMG subsidiary The Pilbara Infrastructure [TPI], under third-party access laws.
Last year FMG announced it was commencing proceedings against Brockman’s proposal for access to the railway, claiming it is “invalid”.
However the West Australian Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Brockman which means it can pursue its rail access plans with the Economical Regulation Authority.
Brockman chief Colin Paterson said the decision is a significant step forward for the company in its bid to commercialise its East Pilbara projects.
"We are very pleased with today's Supreme Court decision, which supports the validity of Brockman's access proposal and is an important step forward in commercialising our Marillana project," Paterson said.
"This decision also delivers on the intent of the legislation, which is to promote and actively facilitate third-party access to rail in the Pilbara. We will now continue to progress our access application."
However FMG said it will appeal against the decision and said “it cannot be expected to subsidise third-party projects that are uneconomic”.
Brockman wants to haul up to 20 million tonnes of iron ore per year from Marillana to a proposed rail spur near Port Hedland.
FMG ended up building its own railway line after unsuccessful negotiations with BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto for access.