Australia's Roy Hill seals funding for $10 billion iron ore project

MELBOURNE Thu Mar 20, 2014 7:01pm EDT

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Roy Hill said on Friday it had secured $7.2 billion in debt for the Roy Hill iron ore mining project, completing all the funding for the giant mine in Western Australia due to start producing in late 2015.

The 55-million-tonnes a year mine will make Roy Hill Australia's fourth largest iron ore producer, adding to a slew of new supply from bigger rivals Rio Tinto (RIO.AX)(RIO.L), BHP Billiton (BHP.AX)(BLT.L) and Fortescue Metals Group (FMG.AX).

"We look forward to becoming a major iron ore producer on an international scale," billionaire Gina Rinehart, chairman of Roy Hill, said in a statement.

The $10 billion project is already 30 percent built, the company said, including dredging for two deepwater berths at port, an airport with a runway big enough for a Boeing 737 plane and villages to house 3,600 construction workers and 2,000 operational staff on site and at Port Hedland.

The debt financing, the biggest ever provided for a mining project, is made up of loans and guarantees from five Export Credit Agencies from Japan, South Korea and the United States and 19 commercial banks from Australia, Japan, Europe, China, Korea and Singapore.

(Corrects rank to fourth, not fifth, in paragraph 2)

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; editing by Andrew Roche)

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