Hancock Prospecting has signed a development agreement to lead a bankable feasibility study on the Hardey iron ore project in the West Pilbara owned by the Australian Premium Iron (API) joint venture.
Under the terms of the development agreement, Hancock will lead the development and operation of the project subject to a final investment decision.
“I am particularly delighted that Hancock is joining forces with Boawu, the largest steel maker in the world,” Hancock executive chairman Gina Rinehart said.
“Whilst Hancock already has a long-standing successful partnership with POSCO through our Roy Hill mega project, and great relationship with Chinese companies who helped us deliver the outstanding Roy project, we look froward to enjoying the same successes as we work with Boawu and our friends at AMCI through the studies, development and operations of the Hardey project.”
The project is expected to be a $US7.4 billion ($AUD10.3 billion) mine, rail and deep-water port development.
The API joint venture is 42.5 per cent owned by Aquila Resources, an entity 85 per cent owned by Baowu and 15 per cent by Mineral Resources which bought its stake from Aurizon last year.
US commodities trader AMCI has a 25.5 per cent stake and South Korean steel giant POSCO, which owns 12.5 per cent of Rinehart’s flagship miner Roy Hill, has a 24.5 per cent stake.
“The Hardey project has waited years for the right window to proceed to development,” Rinehart said.
“We have an outstanding group of partners, and we believe that now is the right time for the Hardey project to be progressed.”
The Hardey prospect contains more than 150 million tonnes of ore with iron content above 60 per cent.
“The Hancock team has my full support and each of the Baowu, AMCI and POSCO teams have my very best wishes as we embark on this next exciting phase to deliver the project,” Rinehart concluded.