FMG urges against “preferential treatment” for BHP

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Tensions between Pilbara iron ore rivals BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals have tightened following FMG’s submission to Port Hedland council over its competitor’s proposed fly-in-fly-out camp.

According to The Financial Review FMG’s submission told the council BHP’s application should be transparent and open.

The company also urged the council not to “provide for any preferential treatment”.

While BHP has proposed building the camp to house an extra 6,000 FIFO workers in Port Hedland, its plans are on shaky ground following criticisms from politicians and a corruption investigation.

The plan was expected to be voted down by council yesterday, but the meeting was postponed as tropical cyclone Heidi threatened the town.

Allegations by a former council member that she was pressured into bypassing council processes for the camp have cast doubt over the application.

Pilbara Labor MP Tom Stephens and WA Regional Development Minister Brendan Grylls have also slammed the plan.

Both Stephens and Grylls said the camp was too large and not healthy for the sustainable development of northwest WA.

Relations between FMG and BHP in the Pilbara are already tense, and the miners have previously clashed over Pilbara rail access and the mining tax’s impact on smaller companies.

BHP is looking to build the camp as it prepares for $20 billion of expansion projects, the most prominent being the development of Port Hedland’s outer harbour.

It said it was monitoring the plan’s developments closely and was willing to work with the council to meet the town’s needs.

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