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News

Article by Peter Milne courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald.
A Port Hedland development plan was endorsed this week.

Mid-tier iron ore players Mineral Resources and Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting have been awarded valuable port capacity to export iron from WA’s Pilbara region, with established players also receiving boosts.

The world’s largest bulk port at Port Hedland will expand to be able to export 660 million tonnes a year of iron ore after the WA government on Tuesday endorsed a development plan.

Port Hedland may be dusty, unglamorous and little known outside WA, but it is the door to global markets that have already made Ms Rinehart the country’s richest person, thanks to her family company Hancock Prospecting’s 70 per cent stake in Roy Hill, one of the three current port users.

It has brought similar wealth to its other two users: BHP, the nation’s most valuable company, and Fortescue, whose chair Andrew Forrest is directly behind Ms Rinehart on the country’s rich list.

Australia exported about 863 million tonnes of iron ore last financial year to achieve export earnings of $149 billion. Port Hedland accounted for 60 per cent of this tonnage, indicating about $90 billion of Australia’s income relies on this one facility.

The review of the port’s future that started in 2020 has been closely watched by industry players.

Capacity at a new iron ore berth will be allocated to Hancock Prospecting and diversified miner and mining services provider Mineral Resources. Just three months ago the two companies formed a joint venture to first seek the capacity, then develop the necessary onshore infrastructure.

The state-owned Pilbara Ports Authority’s plan for Port Hedland also includes boosts of about 25 per cent to the capacities allocated to BHP, Fortescue and Roy Hill.

Two weeks ago, Hancock Prospecting lodged environmental approval submissions to develop a 20-million-tonne-per-year iron ore mine on Mulga Downs, the cattle station where the heiress with an estimated worth of $31 billion grew up.

Mrs Rinehart said she was very excited about obtaining the port capacity.

“This will unlock a suite of growth assets, some of which would have otherwise remained stranded assets,” she said.

Mineral Resources managing director Chris Ellison said his company also planned to export 20 million tonnes a year of iron through the new facility.

The port’s capacity was set at 495 million tonnes a year when its plan was last reviewed in 2012, but operating efficiencies allowed 546 million tonnes to be shipped last financial year, including 523 million tonnes of iron ore.

The new plan for the port includes Fortescue building a shiploader to support exports from its Iron Bridge magnetite project scheduled to start production in December and improved facilities for handling bulk liquids and general cargo.

The enormous value shipped out of Port Hedland is constrained by strong tides that can vary the water depth by more than seven metres. Laden ore carriers start departing a few hours before high tide and then empty carriers arrive before the tide recedes.

The capacity increase will require extensive dredging of the shipping channel.

Rinehart wins precious export space at Australia’s $90b port

03.02.2022

Mid-tier iron ore players Mineral Resources and Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting have been awarded valuable port capacity to export iron from WA's Pilbara region, with established players also receiving boosts. The world's largest bulk port at Port Hedland will expand to be able to export 660 million tonnes a year of iron ore after the WA government on Tuesday endorsed a development plan. Mrs Rinehart said she was very excited about obtaining the port capacity. "This will unlock a suite of growth assets, some of which would have otherwise remained stranded assets," she said.

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MinRes-Hancock JV win right to build new port

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MinRes managing director Chris Ellison described the announcement as a key milestone in its strategy to unlock stranded deposits. "We look forward to working with the state government, the Pilbara Ports Authority, our valued partner Hancock and Roy Hill to progress this project," he said. Hancock chair Gina Rinehart described the news as "very exciting". "We are uniquely placed to fast track the delivery of critical port infrastructure by leveraging off and integrating with existing facilities and tenure," she said. "This will unlock a suite of growth assets, some of which would have otherwise remained stranded assets, to bring jobs, revenue and opportunities for West Australians."

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Port Hedland plan set to maximise mining exports

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Hancock Prospecting Group executive chairman Gina Rinehart said she looks forward to continuing to work alongside MRL, the State Government and PPA to advance the project as soon as possible. “We are uniquely placed to fast track the delivery of this critical port infrastructure by leveraging off and integrating with existing facilities and tenure,” she said. “This will unlock a suite of growth assets, some of which would have otherwise remained stranded assets, to bring more jobs, revenue and opportunities to West Australians. “We are delighted that the WA Government and Minister for Ports Rita Saffioti have provided their support to this important development, and would like to warmly congratulate all involved.”

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This afternoon, the state government unveiled the long-awaited port capacity plan for Port Hedland, with total capacity rising to nearly 700 million tonnes per year, including 660mt for iron ore exports. Hancock Prospecting executive chairman Gina Rinehart said today’s confirmation of additional port capacity at South West Creek was the product of tireless work to expand capacity at the revenue earning port. She said the decision promised to unlock a suite of growth assets, some of which would have otherwise been stranded, to bring more jobs, revenue and opportunities to WA. Mineral Resources managing director Chris Ellison echoed her sentiments and said the development would allow the company to develop pit-to-port solutions and expand its ability to be a long-term, low-cost supplier of iron ore to international markets.

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Gina Rinehart, Mineral Resources are winners in Port Hedland expansion

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Mineral Resources and Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting have won the battle for the right to build a new shipping berth at Port Hedland, as Western Australia flags a huge expansion of the world’s biggest iron ore port that could add more than $20bn to iron ore export earnings a year.Mrs Rinehart said on Tuesday she was “delighted” by the state government’s decision. “This will unlock a suite of growth assets, some of which would have otherwise remained stranded assets, to bring more jobs, revenue and opportunities to West Australians,” she said.

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Iron ore miners win export boost

01.02.2022

Australia’s most lucrative export industry will be able to dramatically increase shipments of iron ore after a long-awaited review of Port Hedland found its potential was 41 per cent higher than its officially licensed export capacity.Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill, Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Metals and BHP Group have emerged as winners from the Western Australian government review, with those three exporters told their port allocations were likely to be increased by 25 per cent when the plans are finalised later this year.

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01.02.2022

Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting and Chris Ellison’s Mineral Resources have emerged as big winners from a government initiated review of iron ore export capacity at Port Hedland.In a joint statement, Hancock and MinRes described the joint development of the new Stanley Point Berth 3 and the sharing of infrastructure as the first of its kind in Australia.In a joint statement, Hancock and MinRes described the joint development of the new Stanley Point Berth 3 and the sharing of infrastructure as the first of its kind in Australia.

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Tattarang surges to hit $5bn revenue

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Hancock had net assets of $20.4 billion at June 30 while its gearing ratio (debt to equity) has been cut from 55 per cent to 1 per cent over the past three years. That gives it enormous capacity to pursue expansion. This would include a rail spur linking to the Roy Hill railway, which carries nearly 60mtpa to Port Hedland. Hancock’s wholly owned subsidiary, Atlas Iron, is also focused on growth, with its 10mtpa McPhee Creek project progressing through a feasibility study.

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