Gina Rinehart, owner of Hancock Prospecting and the wealthiest person in Australia, has secured a $US7.2 billion finance deal with several lenders from around the globe to build up a mine at Roy Hill, in the Pilbara region of West Australia. These investments will allow Rinehart to become the fifth largest iron ore producer in the world.
The global investment comes more than 60 years after Lang Hancock, Rinehart’s father, discovered the world’s largest iron ore deposits at the site. This is the biggest mining construction project in Australia, and will employ thousands of people at the peak of the build. Currently, 2,500 are employed at the mine, with a look to increase the workforce to 3,600 later this year. When the project is complete, the site will house 2,000 permanent staff. Production on at Roy Hill will start late in 2015.
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The funding comes from loans and guarantees from five credit agencies and nineteen commercial banks from Australia, Japan, China, Korea, Singapore and Europe. Banks in Australia supporting the effort include the National Australia Bank, ANZ, Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank.
Gina Rinehart commented on those funding the endeavour, saying that "[t]he project has strong partners with international experience in finance, engineering, construction, marketing and logistics, which has assisted in the attraction of support from the international finance community.”
The CEO at Roy Hill, Barry Fitzgerald, said that the funding deal will be the largest debt financing for a mining project in the world. In total, around $10 billion will go towards building the mine, a 3-44-kilometre railway to Port Hedland and port facilities to export the iron ore at Port Hedland Harbour. Hancock and their investment partners have put in $3.2 billion to the project.
“[Roy Hill] has already shown it will create new jobs and benefit the greater mining and construction-related industries,” Rinehart said. “It will add to Australia’s exports, and significantly benefit our West Australian and national economy.”