SIMEC Mining’s Whyalla Port could soon become a hive of activity as third parties continue to join the facility, with OZ Minerals the first to sign a long‐term port services contract.
After entering a competitive tender process, the SIMEC facility has been chosen as the preferred location through which to ship copper concentrate from OZ Minerals’ new Carrapateena mine.
SIMEC Mining Executive Managing Director, Matt Reed, said the three‐year contract was the first major deal the business had secured.
“We’ve stated for some time that our port is open business, and the last few years have demonstrated that through the number and variety of trials we’ve undertaken,” Mr Reed said.
“To take that to the next level and secure an ongoing contract is testament to our increased capability; and an exciting step in the evolution of the Whyalla Port.”
The contract sees secure containers of copper concentrate trucked from the mine – located about 165 kilometres north of Port Augusta – to the Whyalla Port for consolidation.
The concentrate is then shipped out in 5‐10kt cargoes, with annual shipments gradually increased in conjunction with the ramp‐up of the mine.
Strict environmental controls are in place – including sprays to manage dust – with the State Government and EPA consulted and engaged prior to providing the necessary approvals.
OZ Minerals’ Chief Financial Officer, Warrick Ranson, said “We were really excited to hear that SIMEC had opened its port to third parties, and it has made a significant difference for us in reducing transport times.
“We are impressed with the capability SIMEC has managed to develop through the facility in recent years, and look forward to partnering with them to deliver our product to market.”
While initially a three‐year contract, Mr Reed is hopeful it can be extended to reflect the overall life of the mine.
“This contract justifies our investment in the port – particularly the installation of our state‐of‐the‐art mobile harbour crane – as this wouldn’t have been possible with our old facilities,” he said.
“We will be able to transport this material safely, efficiently and with a high standard of environmental care; and expect our performance to lead to further long‐term contracts in the near future.”
This latest contract comes on the back of an extensive array of third‐party trials in recent years, including wind farm transport and the current ship deconstruction, scrapping and recycling project utilising the old shipyard slipway.