Western Australia’s environmental umpire has given its nod to BHP Billiton Iron Ore’s $20 billion proposal to construct and operate an outer harbour at Port Hedland, potentially doubling the port's capacity.
The Environmental Protection Authority today announced it would recommend Environment Minister Bill Marmion approve the development, which will comprise four stages of construction over eight years.
Infrastructure to be built at the outer harbour includes rail and iron ore handling, stockpiling and shiploading facilities, jetty and wharf developments and shipping channels offshore of Finucane Island.
Key environmental factors taken into account by the EPA included the marine habitat, fauna and water quality, as well as dust and noise emissions.
Conditions include the protection of mangroves at Port Hedland’s West Creek, water quality, native vegetation and marine animals.
BHP is aiming to expand its Port Hedland infrastructure to cope with the export of 240 million tonnes each year from 2014.