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Image: Venture Minerals

Venture Minerals has signed a port access agreement with TasPorts, signalling the possibility of immediate commencement of mining at the Riley iron ore project on the west coast of Tasmania.

The agreement with TasPorts, the owner of the wharf and infrastructure at the Port of Burnie, secures the pathway for Riley iron ore production from mine gate to shipping.

Venture managing director Andrew Radonjic said after running a parallel process in finalising the road access agreement with Hydro Tasmania, the Riley team had been able to quickly conclude the port access agreement with TasPorts.

“Venture is now in a position to commence mining, subject to the conclusion of financing negotiations, and looks forward to improving the efficiencies of the ore handling logistics and locking in access to further on-wharf storage,” Radonjic said.

“This continues to be an exciting phase for the company and its shareholders as the company moves from explorer to producer.”

Venture is also confident that the team can start ore mining and dry screening activities on short notice, and at very low cost. This is due to the zero strip ratio characteristics of the Riley direct shipping ore (DSO) deposit.

The Riley iron ore mine will create close to 100 jobs, with Radonjic stating that it would be a boost for the economy of the west coast of Tasmania during these unprecedented times.

Iron ore prices remain at historically strong levels, having recently hit 10-month highs.

The outlook for iron ore prices for the rest of the year is also looking positive thanks to the Chinese Government’s infrastructure spending, and Brazil’s tightening supply concerns.

Venture previously mined at the Riley project in 2014, but suspended operations the same year due to low iron ore prices.

It is now seeking capital to complete construction of a wet screening plant along with concluding the road haulage tender process.

The company board intends to make a final investment decision, which will be advised to the market as soon as possible.