Australia’s Richest Woman Gina Rinehart Receive US$700M Loan from U.S.’ Export-Import Bank to Develop Roy Hill Iron Ore Project

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | December 20, 2013 2:20 PM EST

Gina Rinehart, Australia's richest woman, has just received a US$694.4 million (AU$784 million) loan from the U.S. Export-Import Bank to develop the Roy Hill iron ore project in the Pilbara.

The iron ore mine in Western Australia has been estimated to be worth US$10 billion to construct.

A stacker unloads iron ore onto a pile at a mine located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia December 2, 2013. The world's second-biggest iron ore miner, Rio Tinto, last week said it would delay the expansion of its iron ore operations in Australia to 2017 but save $3 billion in the process. It plans to cut capital spending to $11 billion in 2014 from just under $14 billion this year, and sees capital spending at $8 billion in 2015, which would be less than half the level it was in 2012. Picture taken December 2, 2013. REUTERS/David Gray

Export-Import Bank said in a statement the funding deal is conditional subject to the purchase of U.S. mining and rail equipment from companies like Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) and General Electric Co. (GE).

This arrangement could support as many as 3,400 US jobs for US companies.

"After a comprehensive review, the bank determined that this transaction represents a significant opportunity for American exporters to create and sustain American jobs," Fred Hochberg, chairman of the bank, said.

He added other export credit agencies from several other countries have likewise obtained preliminary or final approvals for the Roy Hill transaction as well.

"Roy Hill continues to make good progress with both its financing and on-ground works," a Roy Hill spokesman said in relation to the deal with Export-Import Bank. He revealed the loan was provisionally approved in November.

Commercial banks such as ANZ and NAB are expected to offer US$3 billion from commercial banks.

The Korean EximBank was believed to have approved US$1 billion worth of loans on Monday, according to Fairfax Media.

In March, it was reported that the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation has loaned just over $US1 billion to the Roy Hill iron ore project all because Japanese company Marubeni is one of the joint venture partners.

Apart from Marubeni, China Steel Corporation, South Korea's POSCO and Ms Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting are the other joint venture partners. The three will collectively infuse US$3 billion into the project.

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