PERTH (miningweekly.com) - Western Australia’s Transport Minister Troy Buswell has given the nod for the next stage of a new iron-export facility at the Port of Esperance.
The state government this week accepted an Esperance Port Authority board recommendation to start a procurement process to identify a private sector consortium to design, finance, construct and operate a multi-user iron-ore facility.
The proposed facility would lead to an expansion of Esperance port’s iron-ore export capacity, with Buswell saying on Thursday, that the size of the new facility would be determined by the proponent building the new infrastructure after it had entered into contracts with miners.
Recent market sounding conducted for the Esperance Port Authority indicated that initially it could be commercially viable to develop a facility for an additional 10-million to 12-million tons a year.
Currently the port has an operating licence to handle 11.5-million tons a year.
Buswell said that potential proponents had now been invited to apply for pre-qualification to participate in a request for proposal (RFP) process.
“Following this initial step, potential proponents will be shortlisted and invited to participate in a RFP process. It is expected the preferred proponent will be identified later this year,” he said.
“All project funding and associated costs will be the responsibility of the private sector proponent ultimately selected through the RFP process.”
Meanwhile, Buswell noted that the market sounding exercise also confirmed previous industry studies that iron-ore production in the Yilgarn region could significantly grow in the next 10 to 15 years, with the Minister adding that the new port facilities would be designed in such a way as not to preclude the development of additional iron facilities in stages, as justified by demand.
Interested parties had until the end of business on March 1 to register their interest.