MOU signed with ANZ, China Development Bank and Baosteel
Aurizon Managing Director & CEO Lance Hockridge today in Canberra joined senior representatives from the ANZ Bank; China Development Bank and Baosteel Group Corporation for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Financing Co-operation on the proposed West Pilbara Infrastructure Project (WPIP).
The MOU signing was witnessed by the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chinese President Xi Jinping, as part of ceremonies to coincide with the finalisation today of the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement.
The other MOU signatories were Mike Smith, CEO ANZ; Xu Lejiang, Chairman of Baosteel Group Corporation; and, Hu Huaibang, Chairman China Development Bank.
"There is a significant opportunity to create a competitive funding arrangement for the West Pilbara Project, should the project proceed. The MOU demonstrates the strong extent of interest that exists at a corporate, financial and commercial level in China and Australia for this major infrastructure proposal," Lance Hockridge said.
The first stage of the proposed project involves development of a new deepwater port at Anketell and a 280km railway to support a minimum 16 year operation processing at least 40 million tonnes per annum. A Final Investment Decision for WPIP will be considered in CY2016 and is subject to a range of commercial requirements including financing and execution of take or pay contracts for infrastructure services.
Commenting on the signing of the Free Trade Agreement today, Lance Hockridge said:
"This is a red-letter day for Australia, signalling deepening trade and investment cooperation between Australia and our friends in China.
"As someone who was involved in the FTA discussions before the creation of the US-Australia FTA in the early 2000s, I recognise the comprehensive boost that these agreements can provide to an economic relationship on both sides.
"There is large-scale unrealised potential in the bi-lateral relationship for infrastructure development, as witnessed by our proposal with Baosteel in the West Pilbara.
"Here's an opportunity to co-develop world-class supply chains to deliver high-quality Australian commodities to China. The FTA will also enable access to a range of competitively priced equipment and inputs necessary for infrastructure developments and bulk rail operations."