Carpentaria Exploration says it has boosted the viability of its $3.2 billion Hawson’s iron project by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Flinders Ports to provide long-term handling, storage and loading solutions for iron ore exports via Port Pirie.

The MOU allows for the establishment of a common user facility at the South Australian port, capable of annually exporting 20 million tonnes of iron ore via a barge-style operation.

Carpentaria’s executive chairman Nick Sheard says the agreement puts the Hawsons Iron Project in the far west of New South Wales ahead of the queue of other similar proposed iron ore projects in Australia.

“This MOU hastens the development of Hawsons and improves its feasibility. A large export facility at Port Pirie, serviced by the existing rail line, allows export opportunities at start-up as well as providing options for increased tonnages. Not having access to an existing port is a major impediment that other potential iron producers are currently facing in Australia. This certainly puts Hawsons ahead of the pack,” he says.

The initiative by Flinders provides the opportunity to export Hawsons’ expected initial annual output of 5 million tonnes direct to Cape-class vessels of up to 180,000 tonnes capacity, which gives Carpentaria the opportunity to ramp up production more rapidly than previously forecast.

The agreement will also benefit the local community by minimizing any impact on city infrastructure, through reduced reliance on long and disruptive iron ore trains.

Flinders’ chief executive officer Vincent Tremaine says the agreement represents a great opportunity to expand the role of Port Pirie and to consolidate its future as a major export centre. “Carpentaria’s projects have the potential to generate significant iron ore exports, and we are determined to ensure this wealth benefits the local region. We are excited by the potential in this agreement, and welcome Carpentaria’s commitment at this stage to using the facilities of South Australia’s second-largest port.”

Carpentaria has previously announced a positive pre-feasibility study (PFS) for Hawsons, which benefits from established infrastructure being only 60km south-west of the mining community of Broken Hill and 40km from the east-west railway line. The PFS indicates the potential for a highly profitable 50 year mine annually producing up to 20 million tonnes of high grade iron concentrate. It has an inferred magnetite resource of 1.4 billion tonnes at a Davis Tube Recovery (DTR) of 15.5%.

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