Japanese-backed Murchison wins Oakajee port

Geraldton Port

 The Geraldton Port Authority will manage the onwership deep water port at Oakajee.

(Photo Courtesy of Murchison Metals Ltd)

Oakajee Port & Rail has been named as the preferred developer of the $3.5 billion iron ore port in Western Australia, defeating another contender Yilgarn Infrastructure.

WA premier Alan Carpenter said the decision to opt for the joint venture between Murchison Metals Ltd and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. came after a series of consultations with planning minister Alannah MacTiernan and an evaluation panel.

“The evaluation panel and supporting technical teams examined in detail the commercial, legal, engineering, social and environmental aspects of the two proposals submitted.

“Both proposals had merit, but technical assessment of the two proposals resulted in a very definitive recommendation in favour of Oakajee Port and Rail,” Mr Carpenter said.

Ms MacTiernan said the detail provided and the confidence expressed in the Oakajee Port and Rail response reflected a growing optimism that the construction of a port at Oakajee would proceed.

 

“Financing of both proposals was conditional on confirmation of project feasibility – so there is some way to go before there is a clear green light for the project,” she said.

 

Ms MacTiernan said the Government would retain ownership of the port, which would be managed by the Geraldton Port Authority.

 

“Although the infrastructure provider will develop common-use infrastructure such as the breakwater, channel and turning basins, these will be transferred to the ownership of the Geraldton Port Authority upon completion,” she said.

 

Mr Carpenter said the Government would now enter into negotiations with Oakajee Port and Rail to reach a mutually agreeable and binding legal commitment for the development of port facilities at Oakajee Port.

 

The negotiations are expected to be concluded by the end of this year, with project feasibility anticipated for completion by the middle of 2009.

 

“Construction can then begin once all necessary approvals are granted, and the port could become operational as early as 2012,” Mr Carpenter said.

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