Frik Els | July 18, 2013

Report: Rinehart's Roy Hill funding gets green light Gina Rinehart has lots to smile about

Reuters is reporting that Gina Rinehart’s massive Roy Hill iron ore project, is set to get the green light after lining up $7 billion in debt funding.

The $10 billion project has been held up by its Japanese and Korean backers over completion guarantees, but could now start producing 55-million tonnes-a-year as early as September 2015 and slot in behind Fortescue Metals Group as Australia fourth largest producer.

Rinehart is the Australia’s richest person with a fortune estimated at some $17 billion thanks to control of Hancock Prospecting, which she inherited from her father who claimed swathes of the rich Pilbara iron ore deposits in the 1950s.

Should Roy Hill go into full production it would add even more supply to a market expected to go into surplus next year as the Big 3 iron ore miners continue to expand operations.

Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) reported this week its Australian operations is set to hit 290 million tonnes output capacity this year while BHP Billiton (LON: BHP) announced its on target to hit a 220 million tonne annualized production rate sooner than anticipated.

The world’s number one iron ore miner Vale SA (NYSE:VALE) has been struggling to keep up with the Anglo-Australian giants, the Brazilian company is nevertheless sticking to its medium term expansion plans to lift its output above 400 million tonnes from the current 320 million tonnes.

Iron ore was trading at $131.90 a tonne on Thursday, a fresh two-and-a-half month high for the steelmaking raw material.