Atlas fears Brockman Pilbara push

Atlas worried Brockman push for rail access could undermine its efforts.

Atlas Iron Ltd is opposed to the prospect of fellow iron ore junior Brockman Mining Ltd being granted access by the West Australian government to Fortescue Metal Group's (FMG) Pilbara rail network, according to a submission by Atlas to the state's Economic Regulation Authority.

Submissions by Atlas and other firms were made public by the ERA this week.

Atlas fears Brockman's efforts may undermine its efforts to secure a Pilbara haulage deal of its own (see Tim Treadgold's Is it iron curtains for small producers?).

“One of the key principles of access regulation is the primacy of commercially negotiated contracts,” Atlas' commercial director Mark Hancock wrote.

“Atlas Iron is concerned that the applications under the Access Code may lead to a situation where commercially negotiated access is compromised.”

Brockman has applied to the ERA to be granted access to a section of Fortescue's rail line beginning in 2016 to allow Brockman to haul 20 million tonnes of iron ore annually from its Marillana project to Port Hedland.

Fortescue will update the market on the process to sell a minority interest in the vehicle containing its rail and port assets, The Pilbara Infrastructure, when its releases its June quarterly results on Tuesday.