The Port Hedland Port Authority has applied for the green light to begin a dredging program that will see the harbour’s annual export capacity increase by 50 million tonnes.
The Authority has made applications with the State and Federal environmental regulators and hopes to begin the dredging program by the end of the month, The West Australian reports.
The program will remove 17.5 million cubic metres of underwater sediment to clear space for the eight-berth South West Creek development and a turning circle.
The Authority hopes the berths will be operational by late-2013.
Two of the berths will be allocated to the North West Iron Ore Alliance, a consortium of Atlas Iron, Brockman Resources and FerrAus, while another two have been assigned to Hancock Prospecting.
Fortescue Metals will also take up one of the berths, while the other three do not yet have a tenant.
The North West Iron Ore Alliance estimates it will cost $2.1 billion to develop their berths as well as the stock yards, loaders and railcar dumpers.