Roy Hill mine finance deals near completion

The $7 billion debt package needed to give Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill mine the final green light may be finalised by the end of the month.

According to a joint venture partner of the project, Japanese company Marubeni, three banks are on the brink of announcing finance packages.

Marubeni chief financial officer Yukihiko Matsumura said the finance deal could be signed ''as early as this month'', Bloomberg reported.

Matsumura said three of Japans “megabanks” would take part in the deal.

''It's true we are making good progress with financing but I won't be drawn on deadlines. We have in-principle agreement to key terms but there is still a lot of documentation to work through,'' Roy Hill spokesman Darryl Hockey said.

The news comes as the project continues to seek loans and finance agreements from major partners as it tries to raise $4 billion in funding from export credit agencies and an additional $3 billion from commercial banks.

In November Korean steel manufacturer POSCO announced it will offer up its 12.5 per cent share in Roy Hill Holdings as collateral for the massive Pilbara iron project in a deal worth 1.49 trillion won ($1.4 billion).

While in December the Korea Export-Import Bank agreed to offer up $1.12 billion for the mine’s development.

The US government owned Export-Import Bank also gave approval for $US694m ($737m) in financing for the project.

It is estimated 1700 people are now working at the project as the next phase of construction ramps up ahead of the finalisation of finance deals.

The Roy Hill project has awarded $3 billion worth of contracts for the development of the mine as it pushes to commence production in September 2015.

The project includes a new 55 million tonne per annum iron ore mine, 344 kilometres of railway and a new port at Port Hedland.

Roy Hill Holdings is 70 per cent-owned by Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting. Selling off 30 per cent of the project last year, the remainder is now owned by South Korea's Posco, Japan's Marubeni and Taiwan's China Steel Corporation.

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