Iron ore slump halts work on Australia’s last big mine project – by James Regan (Reuters U.S. – December 22, 2015)

SYDNEY – Dec 23 Slumping iron ore prices have brought down the shutters on the last of Australia’s mining boom-era projects still on the drawing board, with partners calling time on the planned $5 billion West Pilbara Iron Ore project.

The proposed mine, a four-way partnership led by two of Asia’s biggest steel companies, would have added 30 million tonnes of iron ore to an already oversupplied market facing slower-than-expected demand from China.

The partners had been due to embark on final feasibility studies for the mine before starting construction, which would have cost around $50 million.

Meeting in Hong Kong, the chief executives of China’s Baosteel Resources, South Korean steel maker POSCO, commodities investor AMCI, and Australian rail operator Aurizon Holdings Ltd agreed to stop further work on the project, Aurizon said in a statement.

“While the CEOs received reports on considerable progress in areas such as the capital and operating costs of the mine and infrastructure, the current market conditions and uncertainty about future supply and demand were central to the CEO considerations,” Aurizon said.

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