Port Playford forges ahead with state government development approval

PORT FACILITY: Stuart MP Dan van Holst Pellekaan, Mayor Brett Benbow, CU-River External Affairs Manager Shelaye Boothey and Flinders Power CEO Peter Georgaris at the old power station site.
PORT FACILITY: Stuart MP Dan van Holst Pellekaan, Mayor Brett Benbow, CU-River External Affairs Manager Shelaye Boothey and Flinders Power CEO Peter Georgaris at the old power station site.

The state government has green-lit plans for Port Augusta Operation's (PAO) new port facility to be built on the Upper Spencer Gulf.

The multi-million dollar investment will see the return of commercial shipping to Port Augusta for the first time in 50 years as the former power station site is transformed into a modern port.

Port Plyaford will provide export shipping services to existing and future mining operations in the North Gawler, Curnamona and Braemar iron ore regions.

Minister for Planning Vickie Chapman said PAO plans to invest more than $100 million over the next 18 months, unlocking $160 million worth of existing assets currently wasting away at the disused site.

"It's estimated that this development will create more than 100 jobs during construction and 80 permanent positions for ongoing port operations," Minister Chapman said.

"This development will bolster the local economy and create a pipeline of growth for Port Augusta.

"There is scope for this site to accommodate a range of commodities and activities, including mineral processing," she said.

Artists' impression of new Port Playford facility.

Artists' impression of new Port Playford facility.

PAO's intention is to load commodities onto shallow-draft self-unloading vessels at the facility's wharf, via existing rail links, to Cape-sized, ocean-going bulk carriers, moored at existing offshore trans-shipment points to the south-east of Whyalla.

"The economic benefits of this development are already materialising with the signing of legally binding commitments with key customers," PAO managing director Shaun Shan said.

"Stage 1 of this project has already received more demand enquiries than its proposed capacity, which is fantastic news for our company and South Australia

"The development strongly aligns with key state, regional and local development directions and will unlock significant economic benefit within Port Augusta and across regional South Australia."

Port Augusta Mayor Brett Benbow welcomed the announcement.

"This is a shot in the arm for not only Port Augusta, but the entire region and it will entice people to come here for a different career path," Mayor Benbow said.

"... now we are looking at reintroducing wharf trades that haven't been utilised in Port Augusta since the early 1900s I believe, so it's a great opportunity.

"It's also great to see the EPA license is being placed on the business because we did have issues at the previous site with dust and so forth, so they have a license they have to comply with and council will be working with the EPA and POA to ensure they comply."

Construction is planned to commence in mid-2021 with the first shipment from the port scheduled for late 2022.

This story Port Playford forges ahead with state government development approval first appeared on The Transcontinental.