Macarthur Minerals Ltd (ASX:MIO) (CVE:MMS) (OTCMKTS:MMSDF) is progressing towards finalising the route to market for its flagship Moonshine magnetite deposits at the Lake Giles Iron Project in Western Australia.
The latest milestone has been passed with RCR Mining Technologies completing an engineering design report to support the potential development of a cutting-edge ‘Helix’ rail car unloading solution at the Port of Esperance.
Macarthur president and executive chairman Cameron McCall said: “The successful completion of the RCR MT engineering design report for the Helix Dumper is an important development in Macarthur’s progress to completing the route to market for its Lake Giles Iron Project.
“We are delivering industry-led solutions that are committed to supporting the principles of open access.
“That is the right thing to do, but it’s also smart business in a region where we intend to be operating for a long time.”
Engineering design report
RCR MT’s engineering design report has been provided to key stakeholders including Southern Ports Authority and Arc Infrastructure for review.
Following completion of the review process, which is intended to bring clarity to a preferred infrastructure operating model that could potentially be adopted within the port, Macarthur anticipates that an optimised rail unloading infrastructure solution is capable of being selected for development.
If constructed, the new Helix Dumper rail unloading system has the potential to optimise the existing capacity of the Berth 3 ship-loader enhancing its current performance from 2,200 tonnes per hour to around 4,500 tonnes.
With a design capacity potential of up to 25,000 tonnes per hour, RCR MT and Macarthur are confident that the Helix Dumper system can easily increase iron ore throughput at the port.
Macarthur’s proposal to develop the rail unloading infrastructure solution at Esperance Port:
- Does not require material capital contributions from the port or the Western Australian State Government; and
- Is intended to permit third-party access to latent capacity within the Helix Dumper system, supporting important principles of open access.
If constructed, the Helix Dumper system has a design capacity which will be capable of handling tonnages well in excess of Macarthur’s immediate requirements for the Lake Giles Iron Project, thereby providing the potential for increased trade through Esperance, subject to capacity elsewhere within the port.
‘Helix Dumper’ conceptual design (image reproduced with permission from RCR MT).
Securing binding capacity allocation
In parallel with the examination of a suitable infrastructure operating model at the port, Macarthur is continuing to engage with Southern Ports Authority on its requirements for providing Macarthur with a staged pathway to securing a binding capacity allocation.
With the continued positive and collaborative engagement being provided by Southern Ports Authority, Macarthur has confidence in the potential to achieve a contractual pathway to a capacity allocation that will be sufficient to support the company’s current feasibility study for the Lake Giles Project.
Above rail haulage services
The company is also in advanced discussions with above rail service providers on indicative pricing for rail haulage services from its proposed rail siding to the Port of Esperance.
The company is confident that it can secure rail tasks and indicative pricing on competitive terms which will enable Macarthur to select a preferred provider and seek to negotiate a binding rail haulage contract to support development of the project.
Track access agreement
The company has lodged an application for haul road and rail loading tenure which maps out a solution to transport magnetite from the project to the existing rail network that connects to the Port of Esperance.
A Crown Lease application is being advanced in support of this process.
Macarthur has also received a proposal for the development of a commercial track access agreement from Arc Infrastructure, the owner of the below-rail network
“Positive steps forward”
McCall said: “Whilst we have our eyes firmly fixed on the delivered cost of our product, we also believe that it’s very important to build positive, mutually beneficial commercial relationships with our key service providers so that they can partner with us and help deliver future growth in our Lake Giles Iron Project for many years to come.
“The continued, systematic progress management is making on securing our route to market is strong, and the board is pleased that the value the Lake Giles Iron Project can bring to the State of Western Australia is finally being recognised in its recent collaborative engagements with key port and rail service providers.
“These positive steps support our belief that the time for the Lake Giles Iron Project has finally arrived.
“Macarthur has big plans, and more great things are yet to come.”