Western Australian approves US$ 2.8 billion port project

By Richard High23 March 2009

The Western Australia state government has approved construction of a AU$ 4 billion (US$ 2.8 billion) rail and port project to help boost mining in the iron-ore rich region.

The port at Oakajee, 200 km north of Perth, will be constructed by a joint venture of Australia's Murchison Metals and Japan's Mitsubishi, which won the contract in July. Murchison is one of several companies thought to be interested in developing new mines in Western Australia, an area where the potential to extract and export up to 80 million tonnes of iron ore per year has been identified.

Construction is expected to start next year with completion in early 2014, and when complete the port will have the capacity to export 45 million tonnes of cargo per year.In a statement Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett said, "The development of a deep sea port, associated rail infrastructure at Oakajee is the single most important project for Western Australian's economic development over the next 50 years."

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