Proponents shortlisted for iron ore port expansion

Esperance Port has shortlisted two corporations to provide proposals on the development of a new multi-user iron ore export facility.

Qube Bulk in partnership with Brookfield Infrastructure and the Yilgarn Esperance Solution consortium have both been asked to provide details on the development of the project.

Port chairman Bob McKinnon said both corporations had best addressed project objectives and demonstrated they met stringent evaluation criteria, The West Australian reported.

The criteria included experience in bulk port operations, an understanding of the project, the financial capability and capacity, and design and construction experience.

"The short-listed consortia have significant experience in infrastructure investment as well as designing, financing and operating major projects related to the movement and handling of large volumes of bulk products," McKinnon said.

Earlier this year the West Australian Government gave the go ahead for the new iron ore facility.

The development of a multi-user iron ore export facility at Esperance will underpin the development options for transport of ore from mine to ship.

The port is linked by rail through Kalgoorlie to Leonora. Trucking operations would then use a relatively short section of the unsealed Ulalla Road linking the mine to the fully sealed Goldfields Highway from Wiluna to Leonora.

Fledgling miners in the Yilgarn region of Western Australia have been given a boost by the decision as it will help open up the Yilgarn to further development, with the region currently struggling from a lack of major infrastructure.

The Yilgarn, located between Perth and Kalgoorlie, contains a number of gold deposits, as well as significant reserves of iron ore.

Yilgarn Iron Producers Association CEO David Utting said the Government's decision was a win for miners in the reigon, and would help create “thousands” of new jobs in the sector.

The industry group estimates an extra 10 million tonnes of iron ore production in the Yilgarn would create 1000 direct and 3227 indirect jobs, with royalty contributions also getting a boost.

A market sounding exercise carried out by EPSL found that iron ore production in the region could grow significantly in the next 10-15 years.

A completion date of early 2015 was outlined for the expansion, and studies have suggested an increase of 10-12 million tonnes a year would be viable.

Currently the port has a capacity of 11.5 million tonnes.


To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.