The head of Gina Rinehart’s $10 billion Roy Hill mine said the project will ramp up to full production earlier than expected.
Speaking at the Global Iron Ore & Steel Forecast conference, Roy Hill Holdings chief executive Barry Fitzgerald said while the project has 30 months to ramp up to 55 million tonnes per annum, it is expected to beat this schedule.
Now more than 76 per cent complete, Roy Hill is targeting its first shipment of iron ore in September.
The Roy Hill project includes a new 55 million tonne per annum iron ore mine, 344 kilometres of railway and a new port at Port Hedland.
The $10 billion mine undertook the largest funding package for any project worldwide, securing $4 billion in funding from export credit agencies and an additional $3 billion from commercial banks.
Fitzgerald said there is no doubt both shareholders and financiers would like the project to ramp up as efficiently and effectively as possible, and says he is confident this will be the case.
"We are very much of the view that it will be far faster than 30 months,” Fitzgerald said.
"I won't put an exact date on it but I don't think it will be 30 months.”
Fitzgerald told The Australian he wished the price of iron ore was higher, but said the company had always planned to be a low-cost producer.
“I think that’s what’s really great about having been a margin-focused business all the time. Our definition of failure would be having to go through a cost reduction program, because we need to be fit for purpose from day one.”
The price of iron ore crashed again overnight and is now trading at $US57.70 a tonne, a fresh six-year low.