Iron ore explorer Iron Road has slashed Central Eyre Iron Project (CEIP) mine development costs by about 50 per cent to reignite investor interest – but it’s still going to cost about $900 million to build.

The previous CEIP proposal estimated upfront costs of about $U5.58 billion ($7.8bn) for a high grade, 24 million tonnes per year iron ore operation.

This eye-water price tag also included a railway and deep-sea port in South Australia, which hasn’t been included in the latest estimate.

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Iron Road (ASX:IRD) said funding one this magnitude had proven “prohibitive for potential CEIP partners”.

“In the absence of timely Chinese backed equity funding materialising for the CEIP, and following constructive feedback from other potential investors, the company-initiated work assessing the viability of a smaller start-up mine with a production target of approximately 12mtpa iron concentrate,” the company told investors.

Iron Road says a fresh appraisal of project economic metrics will be released to the market later in the first quarter.

The explorer’s share price – which was unchanged at 5.2c on the news – has fallen over 70 per cent in the past 12 months.

The Iron Road share price over the past 12 months.
The Iron Road share price over the past 12 months.