Mineral exploration firm Padbury Mining has secured the funding required to build a $6bn deep water port and associated rail network at Oakajee in Western Australia.

Private Australian equity investors will provide the funding, which will be provided in three tranches.

The first tranche, which consists of $470m, will be used to complete the design and construct specifications over the first nine months of the project, as well as for early civil works and to order long-lead items.

Drawdowns against the second and third tranches, $3.45bn and $2.55bn respectively, will be used for construction.

The private investors will obtain a 64% stake in Midwest Infrastructure, the Padbury subsidiary that will be developing the Oakajee project, and Padbury will retain a 36% stake.

The Oakajee development will allow the export of between 35 million and 45 million tonnes of iron-ore, using cape-sized vessels with up to 240,000 tonne capacity.

"It is anticipated that yearly exports may be increased to more than 100 million tonnes over time."

It is anticipated that yearly exports may be increased to more than 100 million tonnes over time.

Padbury said that the mid-west region is estimated to host around 50 billion tonnes of magnetite ore, of which 21 billion tonnes are compliant under the Joint Ore Reserves Committee reporting code.

There are currently 21 firms with iron-ore interests in the region, as well as other commodities that may use the port and rail facilities.
Midwest Infrastructure will now use the prefeasibility study it acquired in 2009 as the launch pad to complete the concept design of the port and rail elements.

The company said thatdiscussions with the Western Australian government are underway to formalise development agreements, and engagement with other miners in the region is continuing.