Mining and Heavy Industries

Sino Iron takes another impairment

CITIC has yet again taken a major hit on its Sino Iron magnetite project in the Pilbara, writing down the value of the mine by roughly $1.3 billion this week.

The Chinese conglomerate announced this week its 2017 accounts would include an estimated impairment on Sino Iron of between US$800 million, and US$1 billion.

The company has already invested roughly US$12 billion in the project, which started production in 2013. The mine produced 16 million tonnes of iron ore in 2017, transporting it 100 kilometres to export at Port Hedland.

The latest impairment brings the total write-downs for Sino Iron, in its four-year history of operations, to around US$5 billion.

Meanwhile, the company continues to fight off legal challenges from former business partner Clive Palmer, whose private company Mineralogy is receiving royalties from the project.

Mineralogy was recently awarded a US$150 million royalty backpayment which is to be paid by CITIC, but Palmer has now returned to the courts with a $2.7 billion lawsuit, seeking damages for other failed business ventures which occurred before the payment ruling was made.

Mineralogy is the lease-holder at Sino Iron.

CITIC has said that without Mineralogy’s cooperation, it could risk soon running out of space for waste and tailings storage.

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