AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Ore boom sees Oakajee port plan revived in WA

<p>The Western Australian minerals boom has revived plans for an industrial port at Oakajee, just north of Geraldton, which collapsed in the late 1990s. </p> <p>A group comprising Murchison Metals, Toll Holdings, South Korea’s Posco and Japanese interests, are making a feasibility study on a deepwater port and a 400-km rail link to mines in the Murchison region. </p> <p>Murchison is expected to be producing 60m tonnes of ore by 2012, second only to the 200m now produced in the Pilbara. </p> <p>The expanded ore exports will be initially handled at Geraldton, but the second deepwater port at the mouth of the Oakajee River could also be needed. </p> <p>The earlier Oakajee saga envisaged a panamax-capable port to handle shipments for the export steel mill planned by Taiwan’s An Feng Kingstream Steel, and a direct reduced iron (DRI) plant to be built for Mount Gibson Iron. </p> <p>The port was to be developed by private finance and construction consortia under a build&#47own&#47operate contract with the WA Government. </p> <p>Initial estimates were that the port would need to handle 10m tonnes to be viable, with the two users only able to provide around half of that.</p> <p>The project also attracted some political controversy. </p> <br />