Flinders Ports has been spearheading plans though the Spencer Gulf Portlink Consortium to develop a new deep-sea port at Port Bonython on the Upper Spencer Gulf to enable South Australian miners to export iron-ore competitively.
Plans for the new bulk export facility first got underway in 2008, when the Spencer Gulf Portlink Consortium won a competitive tender process driven by the South Australian Government to develop a new deep-water export facility at Port Bonython.
The Spencer Gulf Portlink Consortium is made up of a collection of different business aiming to support the development of this new port facility.
Members of the consortium include Flinders Port Holdings, ARTC, Leighton Contractors and Macquarie Capital.
Port Bonython proposal
The Port Bonython Bulk Export Port Facility will comprise a 17.5 kilometre rail spur from the existing Whyalla to Port Augusta rail line, an onshore ore handling and storage facility and a three kilometre jetty fitted with an enclosed conveyor system for loading iron-ore onto ships. Capesize vessels carrying up to 180,000 tonnes of cargo will be able to berth at the port. The South Australian Government already owns all the land required to construct the shore based infrastructure. The new jetty will be constructed approximately 800 metres to the west of the existing Port Bonython Santos jetty. The facility will be developed as a common user port, meaning any mining organisation can negotiate with Spencer Gulf Port Link to export iron-ore via the deep water port. Before the project can proceed, environmental approval is required from both the Australian and South Australian Governments. The approval sought by Spencer Gulf Port Link will cover the construction and operation of the iron-ore export facility (where the ore is delivered to the site by rail) with capacity to export up to 50 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of ore using Capesize ships.
After winning the competitive tender, the Spencer Gulf Portlink Consortium secured major project status in March 2012 and received guidelines to complete a detailed environmental study, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in August 2012. Spencer Gulf Portlink Consortium’s EIS project team completed the EIS study and the Federal environmental assessment under the Environmental Protection, Biodiversity and Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) including the public consultation process during 2013 and the draft EIS was submitted to Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) in early 2014. It has been under consideration by the department since then and a decision on the outcome of the 2013 EIS is expected in the next few months.