A new port expansion in Western Australia’s Pilbara region is expected to have significant benefits for the iron ore export industry.
The state government announced that the Rio Tinto development will allow the company’s Cape Lambert port facility to expand annual export capacity of the resource from 80 million to 210 million tonnes.
Premier and state development minister Colin Barnett officially opened Cape Lambert Port B yesterday (October 2), in what the government said is “another sign of confidence in the sector”.
Mr Barnett stated: “Rio Tinto’s investment in expanding its iron ore export capacity is excellent news for Western Australia and the Pilbara.”
The premier also highlighted the mining engineering effort that went into expanding the port.
“Creation of an initial two new berths and supporting infrastructure will enable Cape Lambert’s annual export capacity to grow to 140 million tonnes now, on the way to 210 million tonnes,” he explained.
Mr Barnett congratulated Rio Tinto on its work, as well as the mining giant’s partners on the project, including the Robe River Iron Associates Joint Venture, Nippon Steel-Sumitomo Metal Industries and Mitsui.
Western Australia’s iron ore industry contributes approximately $3.65 billion to the state economy in the form of royalty payments, with the premier claiming these are vital for the government to provide public services.
“The construction workforce peaked at more than 1,700 and the new facility will generate about 100 full-time operational jobs,” he added.
Housing has also benefited from the expansion, with increased home construction and an upgrade for community facilities in Wickham.
Mr Barnett said it was particularly impressive that the new facility is up and running only 16 months after Rio Tinto’s original decision to commence construction.
He confirmed that the state government worked closely with the mining firm to ensure all the required approvals were in place before the official opening.
Build your understanding of the iron ore industry at the Iron Ore Industry & Market Fundamentals Training Course, to be held on the 19th and 20th November in Perth.