(Australian Associated Press)
New Zealand billionaires the Todd family have struck a deal with the WA government to develop a new $5 billion-plus Pilbara iron ore project.
The Todd Corporation says construction of a 50 million tonne a year 162km railway and port between Karratha and Port Hedland that would create 3300 jobs during construction and 910 once operational.
The success of the project is dependent on Todd Corp striking a deal with ASX-listed Flinders Mines, which owns and wants to develop the Flinders Pilbara iron ore project.
Todd Corporation is Flinders’ largest shareholder with a 53 per cent stake.
Todd group subsidiary BBI Group’s chairman Jon Young said there was a lot of “stranded” iron ore deposits in the region that could be developed through the train line.
“The growth environment is not spectacular, it is nice and steady … there’s another 500 million (in China) going to be urbanised in the next 20 years, the demands are incredible,” he told reporters.
Construction on the rail could begin in 2018.
WA Premier Colin Barnett said the state contributed to about half of the international trade in iron ore and that meant there would always be new projects and new mines needed to replace and maintain existing rates.
“To all those people willing to write off the resources sector in Western Australia, you’re wrong,” he said.