Oakajee's $1.5b port development a step closer

27/02/2008 - 14:31


Save articles for future reference.

Yilgarn Infrastructure Limited has welcomed the announcement by the WA government of plans to release the Request for Proposal for the right to build a $1.5 billion deepwater port at Oakajee in the state's Mid West region.

Oakajee's $1.5b port development a step closer

Yilgarn Infrastructure Ltd has welcomed the announcement by the WA government of plans to release the Request for Proposal for the right to build a $1.5 billion deepwater port at Oakajee in the state's Mid West region.

Chief executive Andrew Carter said Yilgarn was well prepared for the RFP process and was looking forward to seeing the infrastructure development progress.

"The construction of the Oakajee deepwater port and associated rail network is crucial to enable the expansion of the Mid West's iron ore industry and facilitate the economic growth of the region," Mr Carter said.

"Yilgarn, with our Australian and Chinese partners, has been developing the technical and financial engineering and the necessary studies for this project for two-and-a-half years and as a consequence, work is well-advanced.

"We have Midwest Corporation as a foundation customer of the infrastructure development and have secured strong, Australian-Government approved financial backing from China, along with substantial support from Australian investors.

"Most importantly, we are in a position to be able to present a bankable project and take a lead on the infrastructure development while the region's mines prove up their ore reserves."

Dr Carter said Yilgarn's development was more than an infrastructure proposal.

"Our project is a regional development plan that will facilitate the long-term, sustainable growth of the entire Mid West region," he said.

Yilgarn's Mid West Rail and Oakajee Port Project would be operated on an openbook, open access, multi-user basis to gain the greatest benefit for the Mid West region and its mines.

Planning and Infrastructure minister Alannah MacTiernan said today that the RFP marked a key turning point in securing a suitable investor to build the long-awaited port 20km north of Geraldton.

Both mining companies who have an interest in building the facilities - Midwest Corporation Ltd and Murchison Metals Ltd - will be issued with the RFP document tomorrow.

"Oakajee has been identified as the best site for a deep-water port in the state's Mid-West," Ms MacTiernan said.

The port's construction will be fully funded by private investment and is estimated to cost about $1.5 billion.

Based on Murchison Metals and Midwest Corporation's flagship projects, it is anticipated that exports from Oakajee port will generate about 45 million tonnes annually over the next 20 years.

There is the potential for port throughput to increase beyond this point if other mining projects such Gindalbie's Stage Two are proved up.

"Oakajee will become one of the largest bulk commodities ports in WA, behind the Pilbara Ports of Port Hedland, Dampier and Port Walcott," the Minister said.

The successful infrastructure providers will construct and control their own berth at the new port and provide necessary common-use infrastructure such as a channel, breakwater and turning basins, which will be transferred to the state and be managed by the Geraldton Port Authority.

Ms MacTiernan said there would be equitable third party access to the common-use infrastructure through the Geraldton Port Authority, with access to private use infrastructure to be on commercial terms through the respective owners.

The infrastructure provider would also be entitled to agreed capital user charges for third parties accessing the common-use infrastructure.

The Port Concept Plan would allow the port to expand to include other iron ore berths and general purpose berths as the need arose.

The closing date for proposals is May 9. A preferred proponent is expected to be announced by June 30.

A number of independent firms and government agencies have been appointed to assist the Department for Planning and Infrastructure to prepare the RFP, ensure probity and assess the proposals.

The evaluation criteria will be based on the respondents' commercial framework and financial capacity, legal commitment, engineering, project management and operations, and approach to social and environmental issues.

Construction of the port could begin by late 2009, subject to relevant approvals and environmental processes, with potential operation commencing by 2012.


Subscription Options