(Australian Associated Press)
Billionaire Gina Rinehart is excited about Roy Hill’s first iron ore shipment this week despite the commodity trading at a fresh 10-year low.
Australia’s richest person is preparing to celebrate the company’s first load of the steel-making ingredient from Port Hedland on Thursday following recent delays to the $10 billion project.
“Despite the many media critics and their relentless negativity, we have now loaded a ship of low phosphorous Roy Hill ore, the next step in the exciting story of the Roy Hill project,” Mrs Rinehart said in a statement.
The loading of the MV Anangel Explorer was completed on Tuesday, a day after the price of Australia’s largest export commodity fell below the key psychological barrier of $US40 per tonne.
Hancock Prospecting executive director Tad Watroba said the ship loading was a “very happy day” for everyone associated with Roy Hill and attacked those who blame iron ore price falls on the company boosting global supply.
“With more than 90 per cent of Roy Hill’s production secured under long-term contracts, very little ore will enter the spot iron ore market,” Mr Watroba said.
However, details of the prices Roy Hill’s minority partners have paid for their iron ore have not be released.
The iron ore spot price fell to $US38.65 overnight as Chinese steel demand remains weak.
Mrs Rinehart recently revealed that she acted against the advice and recommendations of experts who said pursuing Roy Hill was the wrong decision.
Last week Roy Hill rescheduled the departure of its first shipment due to “progressive commissioning and operational and safety constraints” but the company said on Tuesday that the loading was more than a month ahead of Mrs Rinehart’s expectations.
Roy Hill plans to ramp up to its 55 million tonne capacity within 18 months, a feat which has not been achieved in the Pilbara.
The first shipment comes as global miner Anglo American flagged production cuts across its two iron ore operations in South Africa and Brazil as part of a “radical” company-wide restructure.