Australia: Port Bonython Gets Major Development Status

Port Bonython Gets Major Development Status

The proposed deep sea port facility for Port Bonython has been declared a major development. Infrastructure Minister Patrick Conlon said a rigorous environmental assessment process could now formally commence to progress a proposal to construct a privately funded, bulk commodities deep sea port facility at Port Bonython.

“This proposal aims to further cement South Australia’s reputation in the mining sector, connecting SA to global iron ore markets,” he said.

“The project, to be undertaken by ports consortium Spencer Gulf Ports Link (SGPL), proposes a three-kilometre jetty and conveyor system as part of a world-class iron ore export facility. Estimated to cost between $600 and $700 million, the facility will provide a 25-kilometre rail line linking the proposed port to existing rail facilities.

“Not only will this project reaffirm South Australia’s status as a global mining hub, but the economic benefits will reverberate across the state with the purpose-built port providing employment for approximately 400 people during its construction phase and ongoing local employment with the ability to meet export demand of more than 50 million tonnes of product annually.”

Planning Minister John Rau declared the project to be of major environmental, social and economic importance to the State under section 46 of the Development Act 1993.

Mr Rau said the major development declaration – his first as Planning Minister – was appropriate due to the State-wide significance of the project.

Conditions have been put in place to ensure the project meets key target dates,” he said.

The declaration of the project triggers the most exhaustive development assessment process in South Australia. The Major Development process is also recognised by the Commonwealth under its environmental protection and biodiversity conservation law.

SGPL is now required to lodge a development application that will be referred to the independent Development Assessment Commission (DAC) to determine the level of assessment and Guidelines for the proposal.

The proposed project has already been subject to feasibility studies and will require further extensive investigations, either via an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), a Public Environment Report (PER) or a Development Report (DR), that addresses the matters prescribed in the Guidelines prepared by the DAC.

Once the Guidelines are prepared by DAC they will be publically released. The community will also have the opportunity to comment on the investigations and other detailed assessments undertaken in response to the Guidelines when this is completed and publically released.

“We understand community interest and concern and, as with any major project, an exhaustive investigation process will be undertaken to ensure the facility is environmentally sound and will adhere to strict guidelines,” Mr Conlon said.

“The location provides the most suitable option for the new port facility being within an existing harbour able to cater for large ships, whilst providing land availability with access to rail infrastructure and its proximity to mining projects in the region.”

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Dredging Today Staff, March 7, 2012; Image: bamclough

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