Long-awaited plans to develop new port facilities at Port Hedland have moved a step closer with two companies short-listed to work up more detailed proposals.
Pilbara Ports Authority will give Qube Bulk and Melbourne International RoRo & Auto Terminal the opportunity to draw up plans to build and operate Lumsden Point.
PPA said the area, at the south-eastern end of the inner harbour, could accommodate a logistics hub, general cargo wharves and cargo lay-down areas.
Environmental approval for the development was given in 2014 and PPA has since invested more than $80 million in land remediation, dredging and reclamation works.
It is hoped the new facilities, which PPA says could be eligible for a Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility loan, will be operational by 2021.
PPA general manager of development and trade Lyle Banks said the quality of the submissions during the expressions of interest period signalled strong industry confidence in the growth potential of the Pilbara.
“Developing Lumsden Point will increase port capacity for businesses currently operating in the Pilbara and support emerging opportunities, including lithium and other battery minerals and agribusiness exports, and provide an opportunity for private sector investment in vital infrastructure,” Mr Banks said.“We expect that the project will further facilitate trade opportunities between the Pilbara and international markets and provide more investment and job opportunities in the region.”
Preliminary works to develop Lumsden Point would require dredging a short channel and ship-turning area to connect it to the deeper waters in the inner harbour.