Monday, October 7, 2013

Fortescue to fight minnow railway access in Supreme Court

Mining and Resources

Fortescue Metals Group has ramped up efforts to prevent one of its Pilbara neighbours from using its railway line, by taking the matter to the Supreme Court of Western Australia this afternoon.

Fortescue has spent the past five months jousting with Brockman Mining, which has sought permission to export iron ore along Fortescue's railway under third party access laws.

Fortescue has been fighting the application on the grounds that Brockman does not have the financial capabilities, nor the managerial expertise to develop its iron ore deposit.

A government regulator has given the two companies a price range within which to negotiate a fair price, but Fortescue announced today that it would challenge that price range in the Supreme Court.

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Fortescue has also challenged Brockman's right to even mount a claim for access, saying the junior miner was ill-equipped to develop its project.

In a statement, Fortescue said it could not be expected to ''subsidise third party projects that are uneconomic''.

The court action has been officially lodged by Fortescue's wholly owned subsidiary "The Pilbara Infrastructure'', in which its port and rail assets are held.

A spokesperson for Brockman said the Supreme Court bid was not unexpected.

''The matters will now be resolved before the Supreme Court in the usual manner and we are prepared to defend our access proposal."

Brockman is majority owned by a group of Hong Kong investors, and one of its top executives is currently being investigated by anti-corruption officials in Hong Kong.


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