It is the end of an era for Brockman Resources. At the close of business yesterday the iron ore hopeful had ceased to trade on the Australian Securities Exchange as Brockman, having been at long last swallowed by its Chinese suitor, Wah Nam Holdings.
The milestone comes more than 18 months after Wah Nam shook up Perth’s resources scene with simultaneous bids for Brockman and FerrAus in November 2010.
At the time the market did not expect the bids to succeed and they were half right: Wah Nam lost out when FerrAus agreed to a tie-up with Atlas Iron instead and only won over Brockman via a mop-up bid launched in December last year.
For now, not much will change. Brockman chief Russell Tipper will stay on as head of the group, which will keep its Nedlands digs, and the focus is still on securing finance and infrastructure for its Marillana project.
Brockman may be sinking a little below the radar as a subsidiary of Wah Nam, primarily listed in Hong Kong and with a secondary ASX listing, but the rest of the Pilbara will likely keep an eye on the group for a number of reasons.
Most notably Brockman has its foot on something every other junior in the Pilbara would like to have: space earmarked at the yet-to-be-built South West Creek development in Port Hedland alongside Atlas and Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting.
It’s unclear just what kind of use-it-or-lose-it provisions apply to the 50 million tonnes a year of capacity Brockman and Atlas are entitled to share as members of the North West Infrastructure alliance.
If a formalised policy exists, neither the State Government nor the juniors have gone public with it.
However, it stands to reason that it is in nobody’s interest to see Pilbara port space sit idle.
There is no suggestion Brockman won’t be in a position to develop its mine and port as planned. But should there be a hint of a delay or difficulty in securing finance down the line there will be no shortage of rivals waiting in the wings with an eye for what could be theirs.
At the same time, Brockman’s ability to get Marillana up and running could have implications for the future of QR National’s proposed Pilbara railway line — something that could potentially be as revolutionary to the junior industry as Utah Point, the first space at Port Hedland built for the juniors, proved to be.
QR and Atlas are working on rail studies together but Marillana, which is intended to produce at an average rate of a 17mtpa operation over 25 years, is the other logical foundation customer to ensure QR has the tonnages