BHP Billiton has received approval from the Town of Port Hedland to increase the amount of iron ore it can export through the Western Australian port each year.
The change clears the way for BHP to export an additional five million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) from Port Hedland, meaning it can now ship 275Mtpa.
Port Hedland mayor Camilo Blanco said that since the previous application to increase exports by 20Mtpa was opposed in September 2016, “serious discussions” had been held with key stakeholders and BHP to determine the impacts of dust on health and amenity.
“It is extremely important to ensure continued operations at BHP, one of Port Hedland’s largest providers of employment, but this does not mean that the dust problem in the area has taken a back seat,” Blanco said.
“Since their last application was opposed, we have seen BHP and other companies working well towards reducing the impacts of dust with positive results and we will continue to work towards a solution to this major issue.
“This is an increase of less than two per cent of BHP’s total annual exports and is likely to have a nominal overall impact on dust emissions.”
The Port Hedland Council will continue discussions with BHP, the Port Hedland Industry Council and the WA Government to determine a long-term solution to the dust issues.