BHP Billiton has negotiated a major development plan with the Town of Port Hedland that would see the mining giant pay more than $80 million for land, build a camp for 6,000 construction workers, service lots for other industries, and result in the upgrade of the airport.
Negotiated over the past four months, the development plan would bring in $200 million of benefits to the town, according to independent economic modelling.
It is a further sign than BHP is gearing up for a major expansion of its port infrastructure, including construction of a new outer harbor to support growth of its iron ore exports.
The centrepiece of its plan is the development and servicing of 112 hectares of land near the town’s airport.
The proposal entails BHP leasing 60 hectares at $12 per square metre to allow for the development of a 6,000 room transient workers camp for its construction workforce.
BHP would initially pay up to $31 million for the lease of the land, which would partially fund the redevelopment of the airport.
It would service the residual land, to be used for four transient workers sites for non-resources projects, which the town could lease to earn revenue.
Also, BHP would purchase 10 hectares of land to develop a warehouse facility, for an up-front payment of $9 million, and service 33 lots for industrial, commercial or bulky goods use, which the town could sell or lease.
Town of Port Hedland chief executive Paul Martin said the proposal would see the council’s dependence on rates revenue decrease and ease pressure on ratepayers.
“This development proposal is not a question of whether we want another transient workers facility, the main issue is whether we want to build one on council-owned land and reap the financial benefits of it,” Mr Martin said in a statement.
The public comment period for the proposal closes on December 28.