Shares in explorer Mindax rose after the company said it was in confidential discussions with a potential strategic partner to expedite development of the direct shipping ore component of its Mt Forrest iron ore project in the Yilgarn region.
The company did not disclose the identity of the party but said the talks were well progressed and were expected to be finalised soon.
Mt Forrest, 150km north-west of Menzies, is Mindax's flagship project with first production targeted by the end of 2014.
A scoping study released last April showed Mt Forrest would support an initial 1.5mtpa direct shipping ore mine with seven years' mine life.
A second-stage magnetite development would export 10mtpa of concentrate over an 18-year mine life from 2016.
Mindax shares were up half a cent, or 6.25 per cent, to 8.5 cents at 8.15am.