Hancock Prospecting, Gina Rinehart’s private family business that made more profits than three of the four major banks last year, is focusing on the development of yet another megamine in iron ore.
This time, it’s the Mulga Downs project on the Hancock family’s historic pastoral lease that has just been submitted to the WA EPA to begin the approval process.
According to documents released by the EPA today, Rinehart wants to develop the Mulga Downs and Murray’s Hill mines 210 km south of Port Hedland to secure its supply of iron ore through the harbor.
The new mines, which according to Hancock’s annual report last year have a resource of over 1Bt of iron ore, would deliver 20Mtpa over a 30-year lifespan.
Murray’s Hill, would supply about 5Mtpa over five years, would be developed separately. The EPA approved Murray’s Hill back in 2013 and considered its impact not significant enough to assess, with Hancock’s supporting document saying it seeks to begin its development “imminently” pending a clearance permit and mine proposal.
If approvals come through, construction will begin in mid-2023, with iron ore exports to leave Port Hedland from the last quarter of 2025.
Hancock’s cash cow is its 70% majority stake in the 60Mtpa Roy Hill iron ore mine, along with its 50% stake in the 47Mtpa Hope Downs complex managed by JV partner Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO), but Rinehart has aggressively expanded its iron ore empire in the recent years.
She has signed an agreement to help API JV study and potentially develop the long-lost Hardey’s iron ore mine and reported a $ 982 million profit in FY21 on Atlas Iron activities, which it has expanded since acquiring and removing the younger iron ore mine. . ASX in 2018.
The EPA is also considering a proposal to expand Hope Downs with the new Hope Downs 2 development that Rio Tinto has been told will require a public environmental review, the highest level of control that the WA EPA can request.
Rinehart’s interests, mainly driven by Roy Hill and her other iron ore investments, provided Hancock Prospecting with a whopping $ 7.3 billion profit in FY21 after record iron ore prices rose.
Mulga Downs is the latest in a series of mid-level Pilbara iron ore proposals that have emerged or resurfaced in recent times, including expansions on Hancock’s own Atlas Iron, APIJV and MinRes’ (ASX: MIN) 30Mtpa Ashburton hub in the West Pilbara.
New Hope is looking for new CEO after abrupt resignation
Coal Miner New Hope Corporation (ASX: NHC) is looking for a new boss after announcing the sudden resignation of its CEO Reinhold Schmidt “after a brief period of personal leave”.
Schmidt, who only jumped over to New Hope after seven years at the helm of Yancoal (ASX: YAL) in 2020, has left the ASX-listed coal producer “immediately”. He was on easy $ 1.5 million a year including salary, super and “other benefits”.
It comes just a month after New Hope secured a major land court victory in the lengthy approval process for its New Acland 3 mine, which is now being considered by the Queensland government.
Rob Bishop, NHC’s CFO, will step into the role of acting CEO with a “higher duty allowance” of $ 230,000 a year.
“Mr. Schmidt led the company in a challenging period for both the business and the industry and delivered organizational changes that positioned the company to withstand the decline in commodity prices experienced at the beginning of FY21 and achieve excellent returns as markets have improved,” NHC President Robert Millner said.
“We are grateful to Mr Schmidt for his contribution to the company and wish him well in the future.
“The outlook for the company is positive and the board is looking forward to working with Mr. Bishop and the management team to deliver the company’s purpose and strategy.”
NHC shares fell 3% today, while other coal stocks including Whitehaven Coal (ASX: WHC) (down 5.08%) also fell after Indonesia eased a coal export ban yesterday.
Kulaktier’s share prices today: