Though the failed Chinalco-Rio Tinto deal has soured relations between Australia and China, Chinese companies are showing interest in the multi-billion-dollar Oakajee Port and Rail project (OPR) in Western Australia. Representatives of OPR are currently in China along with Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett.
OPR, a joint venture between Mitsubishi Group of Japan and the Australian metals group Murchison, is believed to be on the verge of a deal with China Rail Construction Company and to have appointed China Communication Construction Company as port design consultant. An announcement on the Murchison website described talks between OPR and Chinese groups as "very positive."
Chinese steel mills which have been engaged in the iron ore industry in Australia's mid-west will probably invest in Oakajee.
Work on OPR, a project aimed to improve the basic infrastructure in Australia's Mid West and explore local iron ore resources, is expected to start this year and complete in 2011. It is Australia's largest infrastructure project in decades with a total investment of US$3.5 billion.
A high-level Chinese trade delegation is due to visit the project in September.
For more information, please consult the Chinese coverage here:
(China.org.cn by Li Xiaohua July 27, 2009)