Mining a catalyst for infrastructure

GERALDTON Iron Ore Alliance member companies’ planned mining projects are providing a catalyst for major infrastructure development that will drive long term growth of the region.

Geraldton Iron Ore Alliance member companies’ planned mining projects are providing a catalyst for major infrastructure development that will drive long term growth of the region.

Multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects that are planned across a broad range of areas will stimulate the development of businesses and industries not presently on the radar for the Mid West.

Rail and port developments are currently in the public eye as the State Government recently called for two proponents to provide their proposals for the Oakajee deep water port development.

The bidding process will be completed on 9 May.

The port, along with the Northern Rail Link corridor which will extend from the port to Weld Range and Jack Hills, has estimated project value in excess of $3 billion.

GIOA Deputy Chairman Rob Jefferies said construction of the project would provide unparalleled opportunities for regional development.

“Construction of Oakajee will open opportunities for development of one of the State’s most significant industrial estates, enabling diversion of industrial development away from the Perth metropolitan area,” Jefferies said.

“The rail line will provide an economic link to the Murchison region, allowing new resources and resource projects that are currently considered unviable, to be explored, potentially leading to further opportunities for development around Yalgoo, Mt Magnet, Meekatharra, Wiluna and beyond.

“The long term benefits for the region are enormous. We expect a Government announcement on the successful proponent mid year,” he said.

Jefferies said that following this announcement, the community will see a significant acceleration of activity over the coming years, with the first exports out of Oakajee expected around 2012.

Significant rail upgrades are also proposed for the southern half of the region, subject to approval of projects in the Karara and Blue Hills area.

“A standard gauge heavy axle line from Morawa to Geraldton, with a link to Oakajee is also possible if a critical mass of projects to support the infrastructure development get the State Government’s approval,” Jefferies said.

“Importantly all of these rail developments will be based on a common user system allowing other producers and industries to access the infrastructure.

“Golden West Resources have indicated an interest in building a spur line from their Wiluna West site, and there will be the opportunity for other companies in the northern goldfields to link into the line as well.

“This spine of strategic rail infrastructure provided by the iron ore industry has enormous long term potential for further expansion by Government and other industry players, with an eventual link through Mt Magnet and even connection to Eastern States rail routes via a link to Kalgoorlie being future possibilities.”

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