New industry in Port Augusta a job goldmine for the Upper Spencer Gulf

Port Augusta Mayor Brett Benbow on site with the Cu-River Mining team, parent company of Port Augusta Operations.
Port Augusta Mayor Brett Benbow on site with the Cu-River Mining team, parent company of Port Augusta Operations.

A $40 million investment is set to see the return of commercial shipping to Port Augusta for the first time in 50 years.

Port Augusta Operations has submitted its Development Application for state government approval.

The former Port Augusta Power Station site will be transformed into a bulk commodity export terminal, with an initial focus of iron ore.

Port Augusta Mayor Brett Benbow welcomed the news with anticipation.

"It's a credit to them, if they can get something up and running I look forward to the activity," he said.

"We have got a lot of stuff in the pipelines in terms of renewables, but we are hanging out to hear things happening and for some good news

"It's all positive at the moment which is great."

The new Port will be known as Port Playford in homage to the former Premier Sir Thomas Playford and his role in the establishment of the Leigh Creek Coalfield, and the Playford A and B Power Stations.

SITE REMEDIATION: The new wharf located at the former Power Station site. Image: Port Augusta Operations.

SITE REMEDIATION: The new wharf located at the former Power Station site. Image: Port Augusta Operations.

The Development Application was added to the public register earlier this month and the facility is anticipated to be operational by late 2022.

It will have an initial capacity of up to 15 million tonnes of magnetite iron ore per annum, but has a future export potential in excess of 50 million tonnes per annum.

A spokesperson for Port Augusta Operations said activities will sustain 100 jobs in the region.

"These jobs are likely to require skillsets such as site supervision, civil works, health and safety, engineering, procurement and contracts, site management and construction," they said.

"Long-term, it is anticipated 80 permanent positions will be generated to support ongoing port operations.

"Indirect jobs will also be supported through the use of local suppliers and sub-contractors to support port operations."

Iron will be transported to the port using the existing rail line before being loaded onto a self propelled transshipment barge at the new wharf.

The use of inland transport is expected to reduce export costs for South Australian iron ore developers.

Port Playford export facility: Proposed new and existing infrastructure. Image: Port Augusta Operations.

Port Playford export facility: Proposed new and existing infrastructure. Image: Port Augusta Operations.

In light of the city's long documented history of poor air quality, the company has engaged environmental specialists to monitor air quality and dust management.

In a bid to manage the dust the train load out facility, conveyors and stockpile sheds will all be fully enclosed.

"Taking these measures into account, a specialist contractor was engaged to assess air quality and dust management in relation to the proposed port development," a spokesperson for Port Augusta Operations said.

"This study assessed the potential impacts of dust from rail wagons, unloading, stockpiles, conveying, barge loading, barge transport and transhipment activities and concluded that impacts would not be significant.

"Across the site more broadly, ongoing dust management methods for the former ash storage area, as previously delivered by Flinders Power, will be continued in line with the Site Management Plan."

The air quality monitoring station which has been located at the Lea Memorial Oval for three years was removed earlier this year

The monitor had been used to track air quality impacts during the closure of the power stations and continued to be used while rehabilitation works, such as the soil capping of the former ash dams, were undertaken.

Port Augusta Operations will continue to monitor air quality and report results to the EPA while publishing data on its website.

The company is also working with a community reference group comprising representatives of the community with an interest in the site and the project to ensure key issues of interest are being managed in accordance with community expectations.

This story Augusta's new Port in the hands of the state government first appeared on The Transcontinental.