NAIF funding for first substantially indigenous-owned iron ore project

A $12.5 million loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) will help fund the nation’s first substantially Indigenous-owned and operated iron ore mine, a project that will support hundreds of jobs in the Pilbara.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the Australian Aboriginal Mining Corporation secured the loan to develop its $45 million First Iron Mining project, 80 kilometres north-west of Newman.

“This project will create more than 120 new jobs during construction and support around 120 ongoing jobs during its operations,” Minister Canavan said.

“As Australia’s first substantially Indigenous-owned and operated iron ore mine, First Iron Ore will also offer the region’s Aboriginal community significant employment opportunities.

“The project will provide iron ore to Fortescue Mining Group’s Cloudbreak operations, with the first delivery of ore expected to happen by mid-next year. It is projected to run for at least five years, producing between two to three million wet tonnes of iron ore each year.

“The NAIF loan will help build a range of new supporting infrastructure, including accommodation, a bore field, a crushing plant and a 55 kilometre haul road to connect the Great Northern Highway to the Cloudbreak mine.

“It is a really significant project for the region and demonstrates the NAIF’s vital role in delivering infrastructure, creating jobs and boosting the economy, with an independent analysis indicating the net public benefit from the project will be more than $300 million.”

Minister for Regional Services and Assistant Trade and Investment Minister Mark Coulton said today’s announcement highlights the value international trade brings to regional Australia by creating local jobs and generating economic activity in local communities.

“As global demand for our high quality iron ore continues to  grow, strategic investments such as this ensure that Australia remains a trading partner of choice for our key export markets in Asia, while creating jobs for regional Australians,” Minister Coulton said. 

“This announcement is yet another demonstration of the success of the Government’s ambitious trade agenda.”

To date, the NAIF has committed $1.4 billion in investments across Northern Australia, supporting projects which are forecast to create more than 4,000 jobs and $3 billion in public benefit. NAIF has now approved loans to six projects in Western Australia, to a total value of $307.8 million.

More than 1,300 jobs will be created across these projects during construction and operations.

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