Moves to open up a new iron ore province in Western Australia could take up to five years according to one former industry boss, after the collapse of a $6 billion infrastructure plan.

George Jones, previous chairman of Gindalbie Metals says a gradual development of port and rail services to near the Oakajee site would open up access to a large new mineral field. A proposal from Japanese giant Mitsubishi has been shelved, the company blaming weakened iron ore prices. It would have seen the development of a port at Oakajee and a near 600km rail network through the state’s Mid-West.

State and Federal Governments have already committed $780 million to the project, but pending any large new discoveries Mr Jones says a gradual roll-out is the only option. For many in the WA resources industry, the Oakajee port would be greatly useful in the next 3 to 5 years.