19/08/2008 - 17:24

Pilbara port plans don't depend on BHP

19/08/2008 - 17:24

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Contrary to media reports, plans for development of a multi-user outer harbour facility at Port Hedland do not depend on a commitment by BHP Billiton Ltd to develop a new export facility.

Pilbara port plans don't depend on BHP

Contrary to media reports, plans for development of a multi-user outer harbour facility at Port Hedland do not depend on a commitment by BHP Billiton Ltd to develop a new export facility.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said that current planning for the outer harbour already included an independent wharf facility, with up to 200million tonnes per annum (mtpa) capacity for other exporters.

"While the BHP outer harbour proposal would increase opportunities for junior producers, the strength of global demand for iron ore makes a range of alternatives possible," Ms MacTiernan said.

"For example, either a joint venture by junior miners, or a private infrastructure provider, could independently dredge a second channel and develop the proposed independent facilities.

"In such a case, the channel and the wharf would be available to a range of users based on a transparent third party access regime."

The minister said that under existing plans, Port Hedland Port's new Utah Point berth, expected to be operational by 2010, would provide increased export capacity for junior miners.

Yesterday BHP chief executive Marius Kloppers was keeping quiet on details on the development of an outer habour, known as the Qantum project.

Mr Kloppers said the project was still in prefeasibility study mode.

 

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