Esperance progresses $21m plan

THE Esperance Port Authority is pressing on with the $21 million first phase of its harbour deepening and expansion project.

The work is expected to start in the second quarter of 2000, subject to environmental approvals.

Portman Mining’s agreement to ship four million tonnes of its Koolyanobbing iron ore from Esperance has helped cement the deal.

For some time Portman was considering shipping its iron ore from Fremantle. One of the problems with shipping iron ore from Esperance has been the poor condition of the Kalgoorlie to Esperance rail line.

However, Transport Minister Murray Criddle said the $32 million resleepering and maintenance program on the line will now go ahead.

Mr Criddle said the government wanted to look at options to fund and build a new line so heavier trains could use it at higher speeds. He said negotiations were underway for the Federal Government to fund $18 million of the estimated $45 million needed to upgrade the railway between Koolyanobbing and Kalgoorlie.

Esperance Port Authority general manager Stewart said the Esperance port would undergo major changes in the next few years including a $60 million expansion of Cooperative Bulk Handling’s facilities which is already well advanced.

The planned $21 million port works are part of a $40 million program scheduled to be completed over the next two to three years. It follows a two-year $250,000 feasibility study of all expansion options for the Esperance port.

The first phase will involve harbour dredging and reclamation work to deepen the port from an average 12.8 metres to 15.1 metres. This will allow the full loading of grain carriers of up to 65,000 tonnes.

Another section will be dredged to 18 metres to allow the loading of iron ore carriers of up to 150,000 tonnes from a new berth to be constructed on existing and reclaimed areas of the port’s breakwater.

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