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    Kiernan moves into new Territory

    Kate Hay*ock
    Monday, 19 March 2007

    TERRITORY Iron has appointed mining identity Michael Kiernan as chairman of its board just ahead of the company's projected May start date at its Frances Creek iron ore project.

    Michael Kiernan

    The appointment of Kiernan comes after Territory Iron completed a number of infrastructure and off-take agreements for the Frances Creek development in the Northern Territory.

    Kiernan told MiningNews.Net that he became involved with Territory Iron through his associates Noble Group and the investment company Crawley Resources. In February, Territory began a $30 million capital-raising through Crawley Resources via the placement of 60 million shares.

    The Hong Kong-based Noble Group holds a 70% equity in Crawley, with the remaining 30% owned by Kiernan.

    "My associates Noble Group, through a subsidiary Crawley Resources, are keen to develop a strong iron ore initiative in Australia," Kiernan said.

    "We plan to do that through Territory Iron. It is a good small developing company … and Noble in the past [has] been keen to assist and facilitate the development of commodity projects in Australia."

    Kiernan cited Territory's infrastructure upside and strong management team as key factors in the decision to support the company through the share placement and his own involvement on the board.

    "What attracted us to Territory iron was risk mitigation, they have a railway in place, they have a port in place, there's no infrastructure risk," he said.

    "The management team at Territory Iron have done a terrific job to get where they are today – it's not easy for a small company to get projects up and running."

    The focus for Territory Iron in the future will be increased exploration to increase production levels and mine life, Kiernan added, with the Northern Territory offering a "good, modest future in iron ore".

    "It's an area that has not been subjected to modern exploration techniques," he said.

    Frances Creek's total resource currently stands at 9.73 million tonnes at 60.7% iron, with production estimated at around 1.5 million tonnes per year, and Kiernan said he would like to see that capacity double as soon as possible.

    However, he indicated that the bigger ambition for Territory Iron would be to move into other iron projects, outside the Northern Territory.

    "We have on [the] radar several iron ore projects, we're reviewing all the magnetite projects that are being developed or mooted to be developed, and we're also reviewing some of the smaller hematite people."

    Kiernan also said he was not opposed to mergers or acquisitions, but there was "no need" for hostile takeovers.

    "Our prime concern is to grow the company and grow the shareholder value, and we see Territory Iron doing that."

    Kiernan is currently also the director of Monarch Gold Mining, has a suite of other interests including newcomer Matilda Mining, and was the founder of Consolidated Minerals and Uran. He told MiningNews.Net in February that he would also be involved in an India-focused new company, India Resources, set to launch its initial public offering this month.

    He said he did not find juggling his commitments across several companies and numerous commodities difficult.

    "Each of the companies has good strong management teams otherwise I wouldn't get involved with them – they've got good managing directors and senior managers. Certainly, I'm doing less work now than I was at ConsMin where I was a direct manager with several managers reporting to me."

    Additionally, Kiernan said his role at Territory Iron would be one of mentoring, offering advice and giving direction rather than direct, hands-on involvement in day-to-day operations.

    "My role is not managing, it's assisting the current management team."

    Kiernan was appointed as director to the Territory board last month.

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