Rio Tinto, Fortescue Lodge Appeals on Pilbara Ore Rail Access Decision

Rio Tinto Group lodged an appeal against an Australian competition tribunal ruling that said the world’s second-largest iron ore exporter must allow rivals to use one of its railways.

The tribunal in June said Rio should share its Robe railroad up to November 2018, after Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. sought access to 2028. The tribunal had also decided the Hamersley rail line doesn’t need to be open. Fortescue today lodged an application to overturn both the tribunal decisions, spokesman Cameron Morse said by phone from Perth.

BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio, seeking to combine iron ore operations in Western Australia to cut costs, have been fighting Fortescue’s campaign to open their railroads to others, saying sales and investments may be curbed. The nation’s third-largest iron ore exporter wants access to the Hamersley line and to extend use of the Robe line until 2028, Fortescue’s Morse said.

Rio has “applied to the Federal Court to overturn the determination to declare the Robe line until 2018,” it said in an e-mailed statement. It will also “vigorously resist” appeals by Fortescue, the company said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisabeth Behrmann in Sydney at ebehrmann1@bloomberg.net

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