The North West Iron Ore Alliance has named former Howard Government senior minister Ian Campbell as its new chairman.
One of the key tasks for Campbell will be to negotiate third party rail access for the Alliance’s junior iron ore members including Atlas Iron, BC Iron, Brockman Resources and FerrAus.
BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto currently control Western Australia’s iron ore rail system.
Campbell said he has experience with the rail access issues through his former role as a parliamentary secretary to the Treasurer and has seen Fortescue chief executive Andrew Forrest’s attempt to break up BHP and Rio’s rail domination.
“As a policy maker I have seen these issues for many years and can see the massive benefit of what the Alliance members are trying to do,” he said.
“They have a 50 million tonne capacity between them, which can go to market very quickly, so it is a matter of getting access to the infrastructure.”
Campbell’s appointment comes as the Alliance has commissioned Sinclair Knights Merz to conduct a pre-feasibility study on the proposed expansion of Port Hedland’s inner harbour aimed at accommodating junior miners.
Two new inner berths are scheduled to be finished in 2013.