Balla Balla iron ore project edges closer to development

Balla Balla Infrastructure Group’s (BBIG) $5.6 billion integrated iron ore project in the Pilbara is on track for development after the WA government validated the state agreement signed earlier this year.

BBIG plans to construct a new iron ore export facility on the Pilbara coast between Karratha and Port Hedland, with a 162km railway linking it to iron ore deposits in the central Pilbara.

The project is expected to create 3300 construction jobs and 910 operational positions.

The Railway (BBI Rail Aus) Agreement 2017 bill ratifies the state agreement signed between the state and the project proponents earlier this year, which provides tenure for the railway component of the project and outlines local industry participation, community development and third party access requirements.

BBIG Chair Jon Young said the company welcomed the support that the BBI Project and its state agreement received in Western Australia.

“The BBI Project will be a substantial job creator in both the construction and production phases,” he said.

“The introduction of the state agreement bill… formalises BBIG’s commitment to provide employment, economic and social opportunities for Pilbara residents, including skills development and training opportunities to promote work readiness and employment, as well as WA local industry participation.”

WA premier Mark McGowan, who introduced the bill into parliament, said the project will generate jobs and economic activity for the Pilbara.

“Balla Balla Infrastructure Group has committed to maximising local employment opportunities within the Pilbara, with plans to bus workers in from Karratha and other towns,” he said.

“The project plans to use custom-built, innovative barges to transfer ore from the port onto ships, which both reduces costs and the need for dredging.”

BBIG signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) in March this year to partner for the construction of the project.

A final investment decision for the project is expected next year.