No date for first Roy Hill ore ship­ment

Pilbara News - - Pilbara Business - Nick Evans

■ Roy Hill chief ex­ec­u­tive Barry Fitzger­ald says the Gina Rine­hart ma­jor­ity-owned com­pany still does not have a firm date for its first ore ship­ments, say­ing “it will be when it will be”.

And he would not com­ment on whether Roy Hill’s re­la­tion­ship with lead con­trac­tor Sam­sung was likely to end in le­gal dis­putes over steep penalty pay­ments, which would likely be trig­gered by its fail­ure to meet an Oc­to­ber dead­line for the first ship­ment.

Speak­ing on the side­lines of a Com­mit­tee for the Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment of Aus­tralia and Cham­ber of Min­er­als and En­ergy func­tion last week Mr Fitzger­ald said Roy Hill still hoped it could ship its first ore by the end of the month, but could not guar­an­tee its in­fras­truc­ture would be com­mis­sioned by then.

Roy Hill had orig­i­nally set a Septem­ber dead­line for its first iron ore ship­ments, which was then pushed back to Oc­to­ber. It ad­mit­ted re­cently it now ex­pected first ship­ments to leave Port Hed­land in Novem­ber or De­cem­ber.

Last week, Mr Fitzger­ald said Roy Hill was us­ing low-grade ore to com­mis­sion its ex­port in­fras­truc­ture at the port, in­clud­ing car dumpers and ore stack­ers, but had not yet fed the first ore through its pro­cess­ing plant at the Roy Hill mine.

“We would hope to see first ore on ship some time in Novem­ber but recog­nis­ing that com­mis­sion­ing is prob­lem­atic, it will be when it will be.

“It’s not a mat­ter of not try­ing, it’s just a mat­ter of step­ping through the process,” he said.

Mr Fitzger­ald said there had been no par­tic­u­lar tech­ni­cal prob­lem at any part of the project’s mine, rail and port in­fras­truc­ture, but com­mis­sion­ing any com­plex op­er­a­tion was a com­pli­cated process.

“The re­al­ity is that when you’re com­mis­sion­ing a plant you get faults — you find out what the fault was and you fix it up and then you move on. It’s a very struc­tured and tech­ni­cal process to make sure it’s not only safe but when you start up it doesn’t break any­thing else, and doesn’t break it­self, ” he said.

Mr Fitzger­ald would not com­ment on sug­ges­tions Sam­sung faced steep penalty pay­ments if it failed to de­liver first ore on ship by the end of this week.

“Com­mer­cial re­la­tion­ships be­tween our­selves and Sam­sung are con­fi­den­tial; that’s the way it is and that’s the way it will re­main. So that is a con­fi­den­tial mat­ter,” he said.

“We’ve got a con­tract. Ob­vi­ously we’ve been deal­ing with Sam­sung for a long time and we will con­tinue to deal with them.”

Pic­ture: Mo­gens Jo­hansen

Roy Hill chief ex­ec­u­tive Barry Fitzger­ald speak­ing at the CEDA an­nual resources round-up as Roy Hill pre­pares for its first ship­ment.

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