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A crucial South Australian infrastructure project with significant environmental, social and economic benefits for the State has taken a significant step forward today.

The South Australian Government today released the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Guidelines for the multi-million dollar bulk commodities facility at Port Bonython on South Australia’s Spencer Gulf.

This follows the project receiving major project status by the State Government earlier this year.

Spencer Gulf Port Link Consortium (SGPL) – the group selected by the SA Government as its preferred bidder for the project – today welcomed the latest development.

“Today represents another significant milestone in the development of this crucial infrastructure project,” Flinders Ports Chief Executive and Consortium spokesman, Mr Vincent Tremaine, said today.

“The release of the EIS guidelines is a key development for advancing the construction of the Port Bonython bulk commodities export facility, which is of major environmental, social and economic importance to South Australia,” he said.

“It also triggers an exhaustive environmental assessment process, and follows the Government declaring the proposed facility as a major project under the Development Act in March this year.

“SGPL has also referred the project to the Commonwealth Government for consideration under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, as a further commitment towards transparency in the assessment of this project.”

Mr Tremaine said the State Government’s EIS process would provide certainty to the South Australian community, investors and regulators in understanding the environmental, social and economic implications and opportunities the world-class infrastructure project will present.

“We will continue to work closely with the SA Government to better understand the local and cumulative impacts of this and other major infrastructure projects emerging in the Upper Spencer Gulf,” Mr Tremaine said.

The South Australian Government has stated that Port Bonython is the most appropriate location for this type of port in the area, taking into account a number of factors including water depth, land availability, and its proximity to rail and proposed mining projects in the region.

Mr Tremaine said SGPL believes the EIS will further support its view that the port is a sustainable and necessary development for SA.

Late last year, SGPL announced it had engaged international strategic design and engineering firm, Arup, to prepare the environmental impact assessment, addressing a range of different issues including project management, environmental management and sustainability, rail and maritime access, and community consultation.

Mr Tremaine said the final design for the facility would be dependent on a range of issues that will be investigated during the preparation of the EIS, including geotechnical conditions, environmental controls, finalising user agreements with customers, a wide range of approvals, and project financing.

However, Mr Tremaine said the facility was 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 approved, construction of the project would take about three years to complete, and employ about 400 workers.

It could be ready for export in about four to five years from now.

“SGPL looks forward to working together with the SA Government and the community to enable the project to achieve all necessary environmental and planning approvals to ensure the project is progressed in a timely manner, and in a way that meets the expectations of our community,” Mr Tremaine said.

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