The South Australian Government has approved Port Augusta Operations’ (PAO) Development Application, which will allow a new port facility to be built on the Upper Spencer Gulf.

The approval will allow for the former Port Augusta power stations site to be transformed into a modern port, to be called Port Playford, providing export shipping services to existing and future mining operations and projects in the North Gawler, Curnamona and Braemar iron ore regions.

South Australian 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,” Ms Chapman said.

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

“There is scope for this site to accommodate a range of commodities and activities, including mineral processing.”

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.

PAO Managing Director, Shaun Shan, said, “The economic benefits of this development are already materialising with the signing of legally binding commitments with key customers. 

“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.”

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

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