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Port expansion a boost for Pilbara iron ore exports

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Colin Barnett

Wednesday, 2 October 2013. New facility will enable Cape Lambert’s annual iron ore export capacity to ultimately grow from 80 million tonnes to 210 million tonnes per annum

Premier and State Development Minister Colin Barnett today officially opened Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s Cape Lambert Port B facility, in another sign of confidence in the sector.

Mr Barnett congratulated Rio Tinto and its partners in the Robe River Iron Associates Joint Venture, Nippon Steel-Sumitomo Metal Industries and Mitsui, on their commitment to WA.

“Rio Tinto’s investment in expanding its iron ore export capacity is excellent news for Western Australia and the Pilbara,” he said.

“Creation of an initial two new berths and supporting infrastructure will enable Cape Lambert’s annual export capacity to grow to 140 million tonnes now, on the way to 210 million tonnes.”

Iron ore production in Western Australia increased 12 per cent to 512.6 million tonnes in 2012-13, representing 26 per cent of world production. Rio Tinto accounted for almost half the State’s 2012-13 iron ore production at 239 million tonnes.

The iron ore industry contributed approximately $3.65billion in royalty payments to the State in 2012-13, which the Premier said was vital to the Government’s ability to provide schools, hospitals, roads and services across Western Australia.

“The construction workforce peaked at more than 1,700 and the new facility will generate about 100 full-time operational jobs,” Mr Barnett said.

“The project has been accompanied by an expansion of housing, and upgrade of community facilities in Wickham, and impressively, this facility is being officially opened only 16 months after Rio Tinto took its final investment decision to commence construction.”

The Premier said that the Government and Rio Tinto had worked together to ensure all necessary approvals were in place ahead of the Port B development and for planned future expansions.

Fact File

The value of the State’s iron ore exports totalled $56.4billion last financial year
Cape Lambert Port B project was approved under the Iron Ore (Robe River) Agreement Act 1964 (Robe Agreement), which is managed by the Department of State Development
Construction at Cape Lambert commenced in 1970 and the first shipment took place in October 1972. Approximately 8 million tonnes was shipped in its first year of operation
In 2012, 80 million tonnes was shipped through Cape Lambert’s Port A facilities
Cape Lambert Port B works include: new outloading and marine facilities (ultimately allowing a total of 4 Cape-sized ships to be docked at any one time), two new car dumpers and a new stockyard including new stackers and reclaimers, with a second stockyard to come; and a new screenhouse

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