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September 10, 2009

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Joint ore project gets nod

THE West Australian government gave its final approval to the first Australia-China multi-billion dollar iron ore project in the state's mid-west yesterday.

The Gindalbie-AnSteel iron ore project at Karara, east of Geraldton, is a joint venture with AnSteel, China's second-largest steel maker and is subject to formal approval by the Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett.

AnSteel was given federal government approval earlier this year to take a substantial stake in Perth-based Gindalbie Metals Ltd, increasing its stake from 12.6 percent to 36.28 percent.

If the joint venture's Karara operation receives final approval, it will become the first major iron ore development in the state's mid-west and build pressure for a new deep-water port at Oakajee, near Geraldton.

A Gindalbie spokesman said production from the site was expected to be well in excess of the previously forecast 8 million tons per annum.

He said a recent assessment of a total of 2.4 billion tons of ore was five times greater than an estimate made two years ago.

Gindalbie Managing Director Garret Dixon said the WA government's approval cleared the way for a fourth-quarter start to on-site construction and development.


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