NZ’s Todd family confident Pilbara iron project will go ahead – by Paul Garvey (The Australian – January 23, 2017)

The billionaire New Zealand family behind an ambitions $5 billion proposed iron ore development in Western Australia’s Pilbara are confident the project can start construction next year, despite not yet having its foot on enough iron ore to support the plan.

Todd Corp, the private conglomerate owned by NZ’s Todd family, on Monday signed a state agreement with the WA government spelling out the framework for its proposed Balla Balla infrastructure project.

The $5bn development will include a 160km railway network and a so-called trans-shipping port, with the entire operation capable of exporting about 50 million tonnes of iron ore a year.

Todd Corp subsidiary BBI Group is confident it can strike a suitable agreement with ASX-listed Flinders Mines, in which Todd owns a 53.4 per cent stake, which will secure hematite ore from Flinders’ Pilbara iron ore project.

BBI itself only owns a magnetite deposit near the proposed port site, roughly halfway between Karratha and Port Hedland, which BBI chairman John Young on Monday conceded was “technically challenging” and which is unlikely to be developed at current iron ore prices.

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