Hancock Prospecting Pty, controlled by Australia’s richest woman Gina Rinehart, will seek as much as A$7 billion ($7.36 billion) of debt to fund development of the Roy Hill iron ore project, according to two people familiar with the matter.
BNP Paribas SA and National Australia Bank Ltd. (NAB) are advising Hancock on the debt package, the people said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private.
Rinehart, 58, is seeking to develop a number of iron ore and coal projects in Australia to help feed growing demand for the resources from countries including China. The Roy Hill project in Western Australia’s Pilbara, the biggest producing region of the steelmaking raw material, contains more than 2.4 billion metric tons of iron ore, according to information on the resource explorer’s website. Hancock Prospecting is privately held by Rinehart.
Rinehart’s fortune has doubled to $18 billion from last year as Asian demand for coal and iron ore drove up the value of assets in Western Australia and Queensland, Forbes magazine said last month. She inherited her fortune from her father Lang, who discovered the iron ore mines that today supply Asia’s steel industry.
South Korea’s Posco, the world’s third-biggest steelmaker, in January agreed to pay 1.78 trillion won ($1.6 billion) to raise its stake in Roy Hill to 15 percent from 3.8 percent. Rinehart, through Hancock, sold a 79 percent stake in two coal projects in the state of Queensland to India’s GVK Power & Infrastructure Ltd. (GVKP) for $1.26 billion last year.
Rinehart may unveil more partners in the Roy Hill mine this week, the Australian newspaper reported on March 13, without citing anyone.