Atlas Iron has welcomed the approval for the development of new berths at South West Creek, Port Hedland.
Late last week West Australian transport minister Troy Buswell and Port Hedland Port Authorities (PHPA) gave Atlas approval for the North West Infrastructure's right to develop two new berths at South West Creek in Port Hedland.
The changes come after the PHPA carried out a whole of port review of the productivity and capacity utilisation by the PHPA, Atlas says.
Earlier this month it updated its vessel movement rules, which included a new clause that allows companies to use additional ships through the channel if other port users don't use their full capacity.
"If in any one calendar month a shipper completes the export of all of its allocated monthly capacity that shipper for the remainder of the month may be able to access further export capacity under these protocols," the document said.
"Should any shipper not achieve its allocated monthly capacity in a given calendar month, such capacity is lost unless otherwise agreed in writing by PHPA."
According to Atlas "as part of its review the PHPA and Mr. Buswell have approved the North West Infrastructure's right to develop two new berths for iron ore export in South West Creek.
"NWI's 50 mtpa port allocation….gives [its] proponents higher priority over the use of D class show movements that may be the basis for further infrastructure expansions by other iron ore producers using the inner harbour in Port Hedland.
"Importantly NWI will have the same right as existing port users to access available D-Class ship movements, should its infrastructure capacity exceed 50 mtpa."
Atlas managing director Ken Brisden said the recognition of the allocation was timely.
"Atlas has always recognised that access to ports is one of the key elements of its growth strategy," Brisden said.
"Reaffirming port capacity at South West Creek underpins our expansion strategy from up to 15 mtpa at the Utah Point port facility, to 46 mtpa via South West Creek together with Utah Point.
"This is a pivotal piece of our expansion plans."
Brisden added that this new development "can only be good for Western Australia's iron ore export industry".