WA Government commits to Esperance port expansion

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The WA Government’s commitment to upgrading Esperance Port has been welcomed by industry as an important step in developing mining in the state’s south.

Yesterday WA Transport Minister Troy Buswell said the Government would soon be looking for financial backers for the port’s $300 million expansion.

WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy CEO Reg Howard-Smith said in a statement the development was necessary because the region’s current port capacity was at “breaking point”.

“Investment in port capacity and operations is essential if we are to reach the development potential of the region,” he said.

“Many existing operations have expansion plans and the emerging iron ore sector in the Yilgarn area will require port capacity in the future.”

The current capacity of Esperance is around 11 million tonnes, but Buswell said this would grow to 20 million one year into the expansion’s first stage.

According to PerthNow earlier estimates put the port’s price tag at around $300 million, with miners having to spend another billion themselves on connecting infrastructure.

The port’s development has previously been the subject of hot debate within WA’s mining industry, with some companies complaining of being left out of the planning process.

Howard-Smith said while developing Esperance was the industry’s preference the Government needed to ensure there was a “fair and open process”.

Last week Goldfields-Esperance Workforce Development Alliance president Ron Mosby said there would be 10,000 job vacancies in the region in 2012.

Image: Business Standard

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