Fortescue Metals Group boss Nev Power isn’t worried about the repercussions of a WA Court of Appeal ruling which opens up access to FMG’s Pilbara iron ore line to prospective, Chinese-backed Brockman Mining.
The court on Tuesday dismissed all six grounds of appeal raised by FMG’s rail subsidiary, The Pilbara Infrastructure, and ordered TPI to pay all costs of the case.
TPI was appealing a 2014 decision by the Supreme Court, which found Brockman Mining’s 2013 application for access to TPI’s rail line was valid.
Brockman welcomed the appeal decision.
“This favourable decision is another significant step forward for Brockman in its bid to commercialise its Marillana project,” the board said.
“Further, this decision has provided greater clarity as to the interpretation and operation of the Access Code and will assist future access seekers in their bid to gain market rail access and commercialise their projects.”
Given the current atmosphere for iron ore miners, however, Power said FMG was not worried about Brockman sending trains down its railway any time soon.
“…the access seeker’s [Brockman’s] proposal was lodged nearly three years ago and they have yet to demonstrate that they have the financial and management capability to carry on the proposed rail operations and that we have capacity on our railway to accommodate their requirements,” Power told the ASX on February 29.
“In the current economic climate, we consider it highly unlikely that they will be able to do so.
“Fortescue is a strong proponent of third party access to infrastructure and is the only company to have provided junior miners access to its Pilbara rail and port infrastructure, having shipped close to 18 million tonnes of iron ore for third parties.
“We confirm our ongoing commitment to providing infrastructure access to third parties who are committed to the development of their projects and have the necessary financial and management capability,” he explained, but insisted: “TPI cannot be expected to subsidise third-party projects that are uneconomic.”