The State Government has completed the formal Request for Proposal (RFP) documentation for the right to build a new deep-water port at Oakajee in the State’s Mid-West.
Both mining companies who have an interest in building the facilities - Midwest Corporation and Murchison Metals - will be issued with the RFP document tomorrow (Thursday, February 28).
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the RFP marked a key turning point in securing a suitable investor to build the long-awaited port 20km north of Geraldton.
“Oakajee has been identified as the best site for a deep-water port in the State’s Mid-West,” Ms MacTiernan said.
The port’s construction will be fully funded by private investment and is estimated to cost about $1.5billion.
Based on Murchison Metals and Midwest Corporation’s flagship projects, it is anticipated that exports from Oakajee port will generate about 45million tonnes annually over the next 20 years.
There is the potential for port throughput to increase beyond this point if other mining projects such Gindalbie's Stage Two are proved up.
“Oakajee will become one of the largest bulk commodities ports in WA, behind the Pilbara Ports of Port Hedland, Dampier and Port Walcott,” the Minister said.
The successful infrastructure providers will construct and control their own berth at the new port and provide necessary common-use infrastructure such as a channel, breakwater and turning basins, which will be transferred to the State and be managed by the Geraldton Port Authority.
Ms MacTiernan said there would be equitable third party access to the common-use infrastructure through the Geraldton Port Authority, with access to private use infrastructure to be on commercial terms through the respective owners.
The infrastructure provider would also be entitled to agreed capital user charges for third parties accessing the common-use infrastructure.
The Port Concept Plan would allow the port to expand to include other iron ore berths and general purpose berths as the need arose.
The closing date for proposals is May 9. A preferred proponent is expected to be announced by June 30.
A number of independent firms and Government agencies have been appointed to assist the Department for Planning and Infrastructure to prepare the RFP, ensure probity and assess the proposals.
The evaluation criteria will be based on the respondents’ commercial framework and financial capacity, legal commitment, engineering, project management and operations, and approach to social and environmental issues.
Construction of the port could begin by late 2009, subject to relevant approvals and environmental processes. It could be operational by 2012.
Minister's office - 9213 6400