China companies open next chapter on WA mines – by Dan Wilkie (Australia China Business Review – February 9, 2018)

Western Australia’s mining industry has received a China-backed New Year’s boost, with announcements of progress on deals that could underpin the development of the state’s next iron ore, mineral sands and zinc mines.

In the Pilbara, global iron ore trading house Sinosteel Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding in early January with mining group BCI Minerals to explore a possible joint venture and offtake arrangement over the Buckland iron ore mine and port proposal.

Sinosteel and BCI will also discuss the possibility of Sinosteel Equipment and Engineering Co providing engineering services for the proposal, which comprises mining operations over several deposits, as well as a haul road connecting the mine to a newly developed port at Cape Preston East.

If formal joint venture arrangements were made, it would be Sinosteel’s second major investment in WA, adding to its highly successful Channar joint venture with Rio Tinto.

The Channar joint venture is approaching the end of its mine life past 2020, so the BCI MOU is a strong indication Sinosteel is looking to secure additional sources of supply to underpin its future business.

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