Australia's Fortescue told to enter talks with Brockman on rail access

MELBOURNE Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:11am EDT

MELBOURNE Aug 14 (Reuters) - Fortescue Metals Group's attempt to avoid being forced to open its rail line to aspiring iron ore producer Brockman Mining was blocked by an Australian state regulator on Wednesday.

The Western Australian Economic Regulation Authority rejected Fortescue's argument that it should not have to talk to Brockman because the Hong Kong-based firm has not provided evidence it would be able to fund an iron ore mine.

The regulator also rejected Fortescue's argument that if it gave access to Brockman there would not be enough space to give access to other iron ore producers who are talking to Fortescue, such as Atlas Iron and Flinders Mines.

"On this basis, for the reasons set out above, the Authority approves the commencement of negotiations with respect to the Access Proposal," the regulator said in a decision, published on its web site. (Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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