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Forrest adds cattle stations in big cattle drive

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
Andrew Forrest at Minderoo.
Camera IconAndrew Forrest at Minderoo. Credit: Ron D'Raine

Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest continues to lead the stampede for cattle industry assets in WA after buying two historic stations in the Gascoyne.

His Minderoo Group has added Brickhouse Station and Minilya Station to its three pastoral properties in the Pilbara in a deal worth more than $10 million.

Mr Forrest plans to dramatically build up cattle numbers on Brickhouse and Minilya, which cover about 500,000ha, in another shot in the arm for WA agriculture.

The latest purchases will increase his pastoral land holdings in WA to more than one million hectares.

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Minderoo is also investing millions in upgrades at meat processor Harvey Beef, which it purchased for about $45 million in May last year.

Cattle from the Gascoyne stations and from Minderoo, Natutarra and Uaroo stations in the Pilbara will be processed at Harvey under plans to boost the supply of high quality beef to domestic and export markets.

Minderoo agriculture manager John Harman said the abattoir Beef was turning over more than $220 million a year with more growth expected.

Mr Hartman said Minderoo was focused on building cattle numbers and processing in WA, with no plans to be a player in the live export industry.

“Our preference is always processed beef and Australian jobs,” he said.

The pioneering Forrest and Burt families once owned Brickhouse Station. and Minilya was owned by Ric Stowe until 2010.

The Gascoyne River runs through Brickhouse and Mr Forrest believes both stations have huge untapped water resources to support big numbers of cattle.

His plans include storing water underground using techniques that have proved successful on Minderoo Station, which he re-purchased in 2009. His father had been forced to sell the long-time family home in 1998.

Gina Rinehart has followed Mr Forrest’s lead into the cattle industry with major investments in Kimberley cattle stations since July last year, including the recent purchase of Fossil Downs for $30 million.

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