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Roy Hill ticks off milestone
Roy Hill ticks off milestone

Gina Rinehart's massive Roy Hill iron ore project closed out Christmas in style, as another global export credit agency ticked off on debt funding for the 55-million-tonne-a-year iron ore project.

A statement released by Korea Trade Insurance Corporation (K-Sure) this week said the credit agency had approved $US1.2 billion in financing for the project.

The announcement takes debt funding to at least $US2.9 billion, with only Japanese export credit agencies yet to publicly confirm lending commitments for the $10 billion project.

K-Sure's decision follows the approval last week of a $US700 million debt package from the US Export-Import Bank and $US1 billion in loans and loan guarantees from the Korea EximBank.

In late March, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation announced it had backed $US900 million in loans for Roy Hill. It was not clear whether that was a project loan or help financing Roy Hill shareholder Marubeni in its equity contribution to the project. The project partners are also said to be seeking up to $US750 million from the Nippon Export and Investment Insurance Corp.

Although the export credit agency loan packages, up to $US4.5 billion in total, are expected to close shortly, the bulk of funding for construction of the port, mine and rail project will come from Mrs Rinehart's equity partners in the short term.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission records show Mrs Rinehart's partners, including Korea's POSCO, Japanese conglomerate Marubeni and Taiwanese steelmaker China Steel Corporation, contributed $224 million in October, followed by a $273 million drawdown documented in November and $368 million this month.

It is understood final documentation for the export credit agency loans will take some time and funds cannot be drawn until the multi-billion commercial debt package sought for the project has also closed.