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The proposed development of one of the state’s most significant infrastructure projects – a new multi-million dollar bulk commodities export facility at Port Bonython on Spencer Gulf – took a significant step forward today.

The South Australian Government and Spencer Gulf Port Link Consortium, the group originally selected by the State Government as its preferred bidder for project, today jointly announced a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be undertaken into the project.

A wide-ranging public consultation process will also be undertaken to ensure the community is fully educated and consulted on all facets of the proposed development – including the planned construction method.

Based on mining industry expectations for the region, the consortium believes the port is viable, and the timing of its development will meet future demand from a range of iron ore mining projects across South Australia.

Spencer Gulf Port Link Consortium comprises Flinders Port Holdings, Leighton Contractors, Macquarie Capital, BIS Industrial Logistics and the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC).

“One of the most crucial export infrastructure projects in South Australia has taken a monumental step forward today with the SA Government approving the studies and communication phase of our development plan,” Flinders Ports Chief Executive and Consortium spokesman, Mr Vincent Tremaine, said.

“The consortium partners are delighted by the faith and commitment the State Government has shown in them to undertake the necessary work to take the project to the next stage,” he said.

“We strongly believe the port is viable, and in fact essential, given the expected increases in mineral resource volumes from proposed mining projects in the region.

“The consortium plans to build a state-of-the-art, environmentally sound, highly efficient, cost effective facility in support of South Australia’s growing mining sector.

“Port Bonython is the most appropriate location for this type of port in the area, taking in a number of factors including water depth, land availability, and its proximity to rail and proposed mining projects in the region.

“It is an existing harbour with a defined deepwater passage established enabling large ships to operate efficiently, and it can be expanded to meet expected future demand.

“Further, under our proposal, public access to the foreshore will be maintained.” Mr Tremaine said today the final design for the project is dependent on a range of issues, including geotechnical conditions, environmental controls, finalising user agreements with customers, a wide range of approvals, and financing for the project.

However, it is likely to include:

  •  a three kilometre-long jetty reaching into deep water, with enclosed conveyors and a ship loader;
  •  the jetty being designed to handle “Cape” size ships carrying up to 180,000 tonnes of cargo, and;
  •  significant rail and storage facilities on land adjacent the jetty precinct.

Mr Tremaine said if the project is approved, construction would take about 2.5 years to complete, and employ about 400 workers. It would be ready for export in about 4.5 to 5 years from now.

He said advantages of the Port Bonython site over other sites being considered were that it was:

  •  the most efficient export facility for iron ore in the region;
  •  environmentally manageable with no expensive dredging required, and;
  •  capable of expanding output to meet expected future demand of over 50m tonnes of product per annum.

Mr Tremaine said the Spencer Gulf Port Link Consortium partners had already invested significant resources on the project and were committed to continued investment in the development of the new port facility.

About Spencer Gulf Port Link Consortium

The Spencer Gulf Port Link Consortium comprises consortium leader, Flinders Port Holdings, Leighton Contractors, Macquarie Capital, BIS Industrial Logistics and ARTC.

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