?BHP Billiton announced approval of US$917 million in pre-commitment funding for the construction of a 100 Mt/a (110 million stpy) outer harbor facility associated with its Western Australia Iron Ore operations.
The project is expected to be reviewed for full approval in the fourth quarter of
2012. It has an embedded option to expand by a further 100 Mt/a (110 million stpy).
The approved funds will enable BHP Billiton to progress feasibility studies and the
procurement of long lead time items. It will also allow for dredging to begin, subject to the
necessary regulatory approvals. In parallel with this work, engineering studies are underway
to match mine and rail expansions to the expanded port capacity.
The first phase of the Outer Harbor Development would include the proposed construction
of a 4-km (2.5-mile) jetty, a four-berth wharf, 32 km (20 miles) of dredged departure channel and
landside infrastructure, including stockyards and a rail spur. Start-up would be in the first half
of calendar year 2016.
BHP Billiton President Iron Ore, Ian Ashby, said: “This investment is an important first step in
providing the infrastructure to allow us to fully develop our world class resource base in the
Pilbara. The development of the outer harbor is pivotal for our longer term growth objectives
and this initial funding is rapidly turning those plans into a reality.”