Australian Aboriginal Mining Corporation (AAMC) has secured enough funding to go ahead with their project First Iron, Australia’s first Aboriginal owned and operated iron ore mine.
After investments from corporate heavyweights Westpac Banking Corporation and the Federal Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), AAMC has secured a $27.1 million total of debt funding.
NAIF approved a hefty $12.5 million loan to AAMC, its sixth investment in Western Australia and its first to an iron ore project, while Westpac supported AAMC by providing a $14.6 million facility.
“This is a landmark moment in the development of Australia’s first Aboriginal-owned iron ore producer and a wonderful milestone for Aboriginal engagement in this country’s mining industry,” said AAMC Chair Daniel Tucker.
“We now look forward to continuing our engagement with the WA Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety to finalise the last remaining approvals as quickly as possible so that we can start construction at First Iron.”
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan and Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government Mark Coulton announced the Commonwealth’s support through NAIF last week.
“This isn’t just an investment in the hard infrastructure involved with the project – it’s an investment in the future of the people and communities of the Pilbara,” Minister Canavan said.
The Minister also said the project is significant for regional WA and will create over 120 new jobs throughout construction and support 120 permanent jobs during the mine’s operations.
First Iron will operate the former Wonmunna mine, located in the Pilbara region approximately 80 kilometres northwest of Newman.
AAMC has also established a deal with resource giant Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) and Aboriginal-owned mining contracting business Carey Mining to have a 2 million-tonne per year operation at First Iron.
The iron ore from First Iron will then be sent to FMG’s Cloudbreak mine in a sales and purchase agreement between FMG and AAMC brokered in 2017.