Padbury secures $6bn to develop Oakajee port project

The Oakajee rail and port project will finally go ahead after junior mining company Padbury Mining secured the $6 billion needed to fund its development.

The massive funded sum has come from Australian private equity partners that want to remain anonymous.

"We're not announcing who the investor is at this stage," Padbury's managing director Gary Stokes said.

The deal means the once mothballed project will open up Western Australia’s mid-west region to export markets.

The port will enable the export of 35-45 million tonnes of iron ore, using cape sized vessels with up to 240,000 tonne capacity.

Padbury expects that annual exports will increase to over 100 million tonnes per annum and called the development a “game changer for both Western Australia and the Midwest iron ore industry”.

The Midwest region is estimated to host some 50 billion tonnes of magnetite ore and has 21 billion tonnes compliant with the JORC code.

There are around 21 companies with iron ore interests in the region, and the rail and port project means they can have greater confidence in exploring the mineral assets.

Funding for the project will come in three tranches with the first delivering $US470 million ($501.2 million) to complete design and construction plans.

A new private company called Midwest Infrastructure (MWI) will become a subsidiary of Padbury Mining and develop the rail and port project.

The private investor will take a 60 per cent stake in MWI and Padbury will hold a 30 per cent interest.

The multi-user, open access rail network will be regulated by the Economic Regulation Authority of Western Australia.

The Australian reports executives from Padbury and the silent investor are in South Korea talking to large engineering firms about final construction plans.

The paper says the contract is likely to go to Samsung Engineering or Hyundai Engineering and Construction.

Last year, Japanese firm Mitsubishi shelved plans to develop the project after it failed to attract Chinese investors.

Stokes said that the company had been working on a Plan B for around 18 months and spent $2.25m to buy the intellectual property to develop the project in July 2011.

“It has been an enormous challenge on many fronts but today’s announcement will see this game changing project finally come to fruition,” Stokes said.


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