Surprise turn for FMG’s Pilbara plans

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Fortescue Metals Group has made a surprise turn in its plans for Pilbara exports, indicating it could favour an outer harbour development at Port Hedland instead of plans for Anketell port.

Both Aquila Resources and FMG have been competing to lead development of the new Anketell port in the west Pilbara.

Both companies have blamed Government delays for slowing the proposal, but the Government said previously it wanted two companies to work together on the port instead of one miner controlling it.

According to The West Australian FMG development director Peter Meurs said the company was comparing different plans at Port Hedland with those of Anketell.

Aquila Resources executive chairman Tony Poli said the revelation strengthened his company’s case for leading the Anketell development.

"That should make it easier for the State Government to give us the mandate to develop Anketell Port," he told The West Australian.

BHP Billiton is pursuing its own outer harbour plans at Port Hedland, which are well developed, and has not indicated a desire to share its infrastructure with other companies.

Earlier this year BHP approved nearly $1 billion of funding for the construction of its outer harbour development.

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