Nullagine JV hits 5Mt export mark for BC Iron

THE BOURSE WHISPERER: Australian iron ore producer, BC Iron (ASX:BCI), through the Nullagine Iron Ore Joint Venture (NJV), has now exported more than five million tonnes of ore since commencement of operations.

The NJV is located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia and is a 50:50 unincorporated joint venture between BC Iron and Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG).

BC Iron said the NJV dispatched its latest shipment from Herb Elliott Port in Port Hedland on 28 September 2012 waving bon voyage to 203,138 tonnes of iron ore in the cape size vessel, FMG Matilda.

The NJV has now produced and exported 5,041,302 tonnes of iron ore since exports first commenced in February 2011.

The NJV uses cape size vessels for shipping product, which according to BC Iron gives it a competitive advantage over the use of smaller vessels.

“I am very happy to report that after a very successful 2012 financial year for the NJV, we have completed another significant milestone by exporting more than five million tonnes of iron ore since our export operations commenced just 19 months ago,” BC Iron managing director Mike Young said in the company’s announcement to the Australian Securities Exchange.

“The excellent relationship with Fortescue provides us with access to world-class infrastructure, something that provides us with a competitive advantage at a time of softening metal prices.

“Despite the recent retreat in the iron ore price, we have paradoxically experienced a marked increase in demand for our Bonnie Fines product from China, other Asian countries and the Middle East.”

The NJV uses Fortescue’s infrastructure at Christmas Creek, which is located 50 kilometres south of the Nullagine mine, to rail its ore to Port Hedland from where it is shipped directly to customers overseas.

In August BC Iron entered into an Iron Ore Strategic Alliance with Cleveland Mining (ASX:CDG) to acquire and co-develop new iron ore projects in Brazil.

Under the terms of this 50:50 Joint Venture, BC Iron acquired a five per cent equity stake in Cleveland Mining.

BC Iron said it is now set to move into the next phase of development through measured consideration of business development opportunities.