The Western Australian Government yesterday approved the proposed Anketell site for a new deepwater iron ore export port for the Pilbara region.
The State Government will provide $3.5 million over the next three years to develop the project and is expecting investments from Aquila Resources, Fortescue Metals and the Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC).
Anketell Point is located 30 km east of Karratha and only 10 km west of Cape Lambert, making it ideal to complement Port Hedland and Dampier Port.
The Government was satisfied that the area would be suitable for a multi-user port with a maximum annual capacity of 350 million tonnes, as well as industrial and mining precincts (see image below).
According to WA Premier Colin Barnett, the Government would now prepare an “industrial precinct development agreement” for the project, which would include commercial, legal and engineering advice.
“The port will be serviced by existing towns, especially nearby Karratha, providing further business and development opportunities for Pilbara communities,” he said.
“This project will help Western Australia develop and the revenue it will generate will help pay for our schools, hospitals and other services.”
The approval is the culmination of around two years worth of mine, rail and port facilities studies, which have cost approximately $145 million.
The industrial and mining precincts comprise of an area of more than 1400 ha and a corridor for transport and services, while the port would have an export cap to ensure the viability of existing ports.
According to the Government, the project will be developed to accommodate a range of users and different mineral commodities.
In statement released this morning, Aquila Resources said it, along with Fortescue and MCC, had submitted a conceptual plan to the WA Government in June last year.
“The plan outlined all of the facilities required by the three companies as well as how the development could accommodate other potential users of this site and provide areas for industrial developments,” the company said.
Aquila hopes to use the Anketell port to export iron ore from its 50-50 West Pilbara joint venture with American Metals and Coal.
Similarly, Fortescue needs a new port for its proposed Solomon mine when it runs out of capacity at its existing facilities at Port Hedland, while MCC wants access for its nearby Cape Lambert project.
“The Government will work with these companies, or an infrastructure provider to develop the project, with plans to commence operations by 2015,” Barnett said.
“The Anketell port and industrial precinct will provide opportunities for new exports and processing of iron ore and other minerals.”
Construction is expected to get underway in 2011 and take around two years to complete.
The Dampier Port Authority will manage the new port and infrastructure corridors.