Aspiring miners in the Yilgarn region say the results of a financial study support a "modest upgrade" to the Esperance port, to aid increased output from the emerging iron ore region.
The Yilgarn Iron Producers Association (YIPA) today said new results from the study, conducted by Aecom, show that a low capital and incremental upgrading of infrastructure can be used to cater for stage one iron ore exports through the southern port.
The upgrade includes a new 750,000 tonne storage shed, twin car rail dumper, ship loader upgrade and ancillary conveyors and rail within the port area.
“We now have further evidence that a modestly priced (under $200 million) Esperance Port upgrade (stage one) of about 10 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) capacity is the way forward,” YIPA chairman and Radar Iron managing director Jonathan Lea said.
“Strong infrastructure provider interest also supports this view”.
It is the second study released in the past six months by YIPA, which is building a case for the Esperance port to be expanded as it had already reached capacity.
“A stage two upgrade, focussed on magnetite, would require the construction of a second berth, and could boost port potential above 50mtpa – this could be reached over time througha number of environmentally sound sequential expansions,” Mr Lea said.
YIPA is preparing to release another study later this month, which will focus on the economic benefits of the upgrade to the state.
The state government has committed to facilitating a private sector-funded project to enable exports of up to 30mtpa.
YIPA members include Cliffs Natural Resources, Mineral Resources, Cazaly Resources, Mindax, Legacy Iron Ore and Golden West Resources.