Posco May Increase Involvement in Oakajee Project, Barnett Says

Posco (005490), South Korea’s largest steelmaker, may increase its involvement in the A$4.3 billion ($4.3 billion) iron ore rail and port development at Oakajee in Western Australia, state Premier Colin Barnett said.

“Posco has always been a participant in Western Australia,” Barnett told Perth radio station 6PR in an interview from South Korea today. “They may increase their involvement in Oakajee, something that I would encourage.”

Mitsubishi Corp. (8058) and Murchison Metals Ltd. (MMX), the joint venture partners in Oakajee, were given on March 2 an extra nine months by Barnett’s government to decide whether to build the infrastructure that will open up exports of the steel-making ingredient from the state’s mid-west region. Investors from other Asian nations, including China, could be brought in to financially bolster the project, Barnett had earlier said.

Perth-based Murchison, in which Posco owns a 13.9 percent stake, said separately today there is potential for “closer cooperation” with the South Korean company.

“The potential for closer co-operation with one of the world’s premier steel producers is obviously something we regularly discuss with them as part of our business execution strategy,” Murchison’s Executive Chairman Paul Kopejtka said today in an e-mailed statement.

The terminal project near Geraldton, 430 kilometers (267 miles) north of Perth, will have the capacity to export 45 million metric tons of iron ore a year, Murchison said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jason Scott in Perth at jscott14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Hobbs at ahobbs4@bloomberg.net

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