Region's gateway proves profitable

THE sprawling facilities of the Bunbury port have been recognised as the gateway to the South West region of WA.

Located about 180 kilometres south of Perth, the port has become an integral part of resource development and the economic well being of the region.

An economic impact study estimated that in 1995-96 the port had benefit to the South West of some $150.7 million and $100 million to Bunbury.

The Bunbury Port Authority reported a record profit of $3.5 million achieved on a throughput of 8.5 million tonnes for 1995-96.

For 1996-97 it had a profit of $2.1 million on total trade of 8.56 million tonnes, which was below expectations due to reduced imports of phosphate rock (50 per cent), caustic soda (15 per cent), and mineral sands (30 per cent).

The past 12 months have seen vigorous activity and increased competition in the provision of port services. While this trade is not fully reflective of development, the foundations have been laid for future expansion, including construction of Berth 8, a modern, $20 million shiploading facility and associated storage and loading.

In addition, BHP has built an 11,000 square metre mineral sand storage shed and further storage is planned by BHP, Cable Sands and Gwalia Consolidated Ltd. This has been complemented by a dedicated port access road to transport goods efficiently to and from the modern port.

Large cargoes of silica sand from the Harvey area and mineral sands from Beenup are being handled by the facilities.

When it was officially commissioned by Premier Richard Court, the $20 million Bunbury Berth 8 was rated as world class facilities for exporting South West minerals to the world.

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