BHP Billiton has approved nearly $1 billion in funding for the construction of its iron ore outer harbour facility in Port Hedland.
The announcement follows the EPA’s development approval of the project late last month.
The project; which will reviewed at the end of the year for full approval by BHP; has the ability to expand capacity at the port.
The approval of US$917 million in funding enables the miner to carry out feasibility studies and the procurement of long lead time items.
It will also allow for dredging to start.
Engineering studies are also underway to grow mine and rail expansions in line with the extra port capacity.
The miner will eventually and operate a new shipping berth and stockpile facility on Finucane Island to provide an additional export capacity of 240 million tonnes of iron ore.
Its proposal included both onshore and offshore infrastructure such as rail and iron ore handling, shiploading facilities, a four kilometre long jetty, and a two kilometre long four berth wharf.
BHP would also build a six kilomtre overland conveyor to a new transfer pad located to the west of the existing Finucane Island facilities.
According to the miner, once its development is completed vessel movements from the outer harbour would range between 960 and 1400 per year.
Work would begin in the first half of 2016.
BHP’s head of iron ore, Ian Ashby, stated that "this investment is an important first step in providing the infrastructure to allow us to fully develop our resource base in the Pilbara.