Decreased port fees at Utah Point Bulk Handling Facility in Western Australia, have been extended to support junior miners exporting iron ore and preserve thousands of jobs.

Western Australia Transport Minister Dean Nalder said he would issue a direction to Pilbara Ports Authority to extend the discount regime to June 30, 2017.

The Liberal National Government originally announced a $2.50 per tonne discount for the junior operators in May 2015, which was due to expire June 2016.

Mr Nalder said the decision would help junior operators such as Atlas Iron and Mineral Resources Limited preserve employment for their workers, contractors and suppliers.

“The Government has had great success with the Utah Point facility,” Mr Nalder said.

“The initiative to build the port has unlocked iron ore deposits that would have been difficult to access, enabling additional economic development in the Pilbara including thousands of jobs.”

Western Australia State Development Minister Bill Marmion said the Liberal National Government had also decided to extend the discount to manganese exports handled at the facility to encourage the remobilisation of the nearby Woodie Woodie mine.

“We would like to see Woodie Woodie recommence operations and the extension of the discount demonstrates the Government’s support for remobilisation,” Mr Marmion said.

The $2.50 per tonne port charge discount is conditional on the iron ore price staying below $80 per tonne.

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