VN – Vietnam's biggest steelmaker set to import iron ore from its new mine in the Northern Territory

Pressemitteilung | Reading time: min

Vietnam's biggest steel manufacturer is getting ready to import iron ore from its new mine in the Northern Territory. 

Hoa Phat Group received approval from Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to buy the Roper Valley iron ore project last year and has now started trucking ore more than 500 kilometres to the Darwin Port for export.

The Acting CEO of Darwin Port, Peter Dummett, said the company's first shipment was due out later this month.

"This mine was initially developed by Sherwin Iron and Hoa Phat have now purchased that mine, which included about 300,000 tonnes of ore already stockpiled there," he said.

"So we've got a number of trucks coming in each day with the product and it's good to see it coming in.

"Hoa Phat is the largest steel producer in Vietnam, so this product is going to its steel mills — it's not for on-selling."

Mr Dummett said the company was aiming to export the 300,000-tonne stockpile by the end of this year.

"Hoa Phat have their own vessels and will probably move this in five shipments," he said.

Key points:

  • Hoa Phat Group is also investigating options to buy more Australian iron ore and coal mines
  • Some people in the NT's Roper Valley have concerns about the project
  • The company is also Vietnam's largest importer of live cattle

Iron ore trucks hit the road

Mr Dummett said the ore was currently being transported entirely by road to the port, but the company's long-term plan was to use the rail line to Darwin.

The ABC understands the company is still working through the necessary approvals to restart mining. 

Greg Dickson works in the remote community of Ngukurr, about 50 kilometres from the mine, and said people were noticing the increased traffic and iron ore dust.

"About six weeks ago, we started seeing the big iron ore road trains going up and down the Roper Highway," he said.

"And it's only been six weeks, but you can see where the trucks come onto the Roper Highway, it's clear to see where the iron ore dust is spilling out onto country and it's turning very red in patches."

Mr Dickson said the community of Ngukurr was not seeing any benefits from the mine.

"What I find frustrating is I don't see people here being aware, or knowing what's going on, and I'm seeing absolutely nil benefits to the community here," he said.

"I just think it's disgusting that you can have miners getting wealthy off natural resources and, within the vicinity, there's a community [like Ngukurr] with people in poverty.

"There should be investments made so that everyone gets to share in the wealth that's coming out of the ground."

Aiming to buy more mines

In its press release about buying the Roper Valley iron ore project, Hoa Phat Group said the mine had estimated reserves of 320 million tonnes and a mining capacity of 4 million tonnes per year.

The company said it was looking to buy more Australian mines to supply raw materials to its mills in Vietnam.

"Hoa Phat Group is continuing to research to invest in purchasing some other new iron mines in Australia to ensure a long-term supply of at least 50 per cent of its iron ore demand — equivalent to 10 million tonnes a year," it said.

"The group is also studying to buy some Australian coking coal mines in the future to gradually become self-sufficient in this important production material."

The company said it produced 780,000 tonnes of crude steel in May this year, which was up 16 per cent over the same period last year. 

Hoa Phat Group was contacted for further comment about its upcoming shipments of iron ore from the Northern Territory but has not responded.

The company is also Vietnam's largest importer of live cattle.