Fortescue Metals Group has joined with Sinosteel to investigate rail and port development at Oakajee in the Midwest region of Western Australia.
FMG and Sinosteel signed a binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) to complete a rapid project assessment of Sinosteel’s Midwest magnetite project in the region, including rail and port development at Oakajee.
At the conclusion of the 12 month rapid project assessment and subject to the outcome of that process, Fortescue has the option to acquire up to 50 per cent of the Midwest magnetite project and up to 100 per cent of the proposed port and rail infrastructure project.
Oakajee has long been touted as a possible site for a deepwater port with the potential to help the Midwest region rival the Pilbara as an iron ore province.
The site was considered again in 2014, when Padbury Mining first announced it had backing for the Oakajee project on April 11, before the company’s plans collapsed less than a month later.
Fortescue chief executive officer Elizabeth Gaines said future development including a renewable, green hydrogen hub in the Midwest region at Oakajee would deliver a large-scale resources and renewables project for Western Australia, further underpinning the company’s enduring relationship with China.
“Sinosteel has demonstrated its strong performance and ability to deliver mining projects in Australia including their Channar Mine in the Pilbara,” Gaines said.
“The signing of this MoU demonstrates Fortescue’s commitment to our strategic pillars of investing in the long-term sustainability of our iron ore business, expanding into new regions and continuing to deliver strong returns to our stakeholders,” she said.
“We look forward to working with Sinosteel on the next steps for this important project for Western Australia which, in addition to the magnetite and infrastructure development, offers the opportunity for a co-ordinated project combining Fortescue’s iron ore and infrastructure pedigree with Fortescue Future Industries’ green energy objectives.
Sinosteel Group Corporation president Andong Liu said Fortescue is not only a leading iron ore producer, but also a pioneer in green energy initiatives.
“Sinosteel, like other pioneers in developing the Midwest region, has long cherished the vision of developing this world-class magnetite project in this area,” he said.
“This world-class project is reflected not only in the scale of resources, ore processing characteristics and product quality, but also in the huge renewable energy potential.
“In this cherished land of the Midwest, we are confident that together with Fortescue we will make the Midwest a low-carbon, green, high-quality iron ore centre and lead a new era of magnetite development in the Midwest,” he said.