A Bill to assist the creation of a new $120 million dollar iron ore mine which is expected to provide 300 construction and permanent jobs has been introduced into State Parliament.
Deputy Premier and State Development Minister Ian Taylor said the Iron Ore (Hope Downs) Agreement Bill provided a greater return to the State than old agreement acts, along with greater flexibility for expansion.
"Although initial mining operations should commence within three years at Hope Downs, north west of Mt Whaleback, the project has the potential for massive expansion with the development of its own railway and port facilities and an investment of between one and two billion dollars," Mr Taylor said.
"As with all agreements negotiated by this Government, an important provision is that the developers, Hancock Group, under the chairmanship of Gina Rinehart, unless it is impractical must use labour available in Western Australia. Every reasonable endeavour must be made to ensure that as many as possible be recruited from the Pilbara. The company is also required to give proper consideration and where possible preference WA supplies, manufacturers and contractors."
Mr Taylor told Parliament that the Bill would set an initial royalty for 5.625 per cent on fine and lump ore.
Existing producers pay royalties of 3.75 per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively.
"There is also a major incentive for the company to get into production as quickly as possible as the royalty rate on lump ore will rise to 7.5 per cent on December 1, 2008," Mr Taylor said.
The company had identified an indicated resource of more than 450 million tonnes of Marra Mamba iron ore in its northern deposit and the drilling program is continuing in other areas to evaluate their resources.
The project would most probably initially connect with and use the existing infrastructure of the other iron ore producers.
The project would be subject to the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act.