BHP to build Port Hedland tug harbour

21/07/2015 - 13:41

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Mining giant BHP Billiton has announced plans to construct a new eight-pen tug harbour at Hunt Point in Port Hedland, as well as purchase six additional tugs, for $US240 million ($A326 million).

BHP to build Port Hedland tug harbour
BHP Billiton iron ore president Jimmy Wilson.

Mining giant BHP Billiton has announced plans to construct a new eight-pen tug harbour at Hunt Point in Port Hedland, as well as purchase six additional tugs, for $US240 million ($A326 million).

The investment will also include an upgrade of workshop facilities, operational and service berths, and two small boat moorings at the existing Nelson Point tug harbour.

The company expects the project to create up to 200 jobs in Port Hedland during construction.

BHP iron ore president Jimmy Wilson said the project would mitigate the risk of a channel blockage by ensuring the continued safe escort of vessels in and out of the Port Hedland inner harbour.

“This project will enable BHP to safely meet projected demand for tug services and effectively manage shipping risk for all users of the Port Hedland port,” he said.

Earthworks are scheduled to begin in the December quarter, with construction expected to be completed in the September 2016 quarter.

The new tug harbour will improve on previous designs, with the facility requiring minimal dredging and marine-based infrastructure and having less environmental and visual impact, BHP said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the Pilbara Ports Authority reported that the Port of Port Hedland achieved a record annual throughput of 446.9 million tonnes, an increase of 74.6mt (or 20 per cent) from the previous year, with iron ore exports accounting 439.6mt of that total.

BHP shares were 0.5 per cent lower to $26.85 each at 1:30pm.

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