MEXICO: Gina Rinehart’s much anticipated first shipment from the Roy Hill iron ore project is facing a new round of delays with the company deferring today’s planned departure from Port Hedland.
Roy Hill had planned a mid-morning ceremony to mark the first-ore-on-ship (FOOS). The FOOS milestone has been used as a high-profile end-of-project construction celebration by JUPilbara iron ore miners Fortescue Metals Group, Atlas Iron and BC Iron.
However, a statement yesterday from Roy Hill, which is 70 per cent owned by Mrs Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting, said the FOOS milestone had to be postponed because of delays to the sending-off of iron ore ship, the Anangel Explorer.
Roy Hill did not expand on the reasons for the delayed departure other than to refer to “progressive commissioning and operational and safety constraints on first shipments required by the Pilbara Ports Authority”.
Roy Hill is now believed to be targeting next Thursday to mark its first shipment.
Shipping fees associated with the late departure are believed to be about $US8000 ($10,960) a day, meaning the delay will cost Roy Hill about $65,500.
While dry commissioning of the conveyor system and ship- loader has been in progress for some time, the complex system only began moving ore from Roy Hill’s rail facilities when the Anangel Explorer docked this week.
It is understood minor issues during the process led to a slow load of the ship, leaving about 60,000t of ore still to be loaded this morning.
That meant the vessel was likely to miss its tidal window this afternoon, pushing it behind other vessels being loaded in the port in the queue for a slot in Port Hedland’s busy shipping channel.
The Pilbara Port Authority is understood to be reluctant to allow Roy Hill’s first shipment during the night, further limiting the company’s ability to book a new slot.
Although the tide will peak after 8am from Monday, Roy Hill is believed to be targeting a Thursday departure.