The South Australian Government has approved the development of a new export port on the site of a demolished coal-fired power station.

Key points:

  • The port is set to create 100 construction jobs and 80 ongoing positions
  • Barges will transport commodities from the port to bulk carriers in deeper waters
  • The local mayor is confident environmental concerns will be kept front of mind

Port Playford will be constructed south of Port Augusta, with the Government touting it as a “modern port” that will service present and future iron ore projects.

The port will be owned by Port Augusta Operations (PAO), a subsidiary of CU River Mining.

It will be built on the site of the Northern Power Station, a coal plant that was mothballed in 2016.

“It’s estimated that this development will create more than 100 jobs during construction and 80 permanent positions for ongoing port operations,” Planning Minister Vickie Chapman said.

PAO plans to load iron ore and other commodities onto barges that will then be transferred onto bulk carriers in deeper waters.

The Northern Power Station was closed in 2016. Its demolition was completed in 2018.(Supplied: McMahons)

Environmental monitoring

Port Augusta Mayor Brett Benbow said it was good to see the old power station site given a new purpose.

“This is an example of how things can move forward using the same location for different commodity movements and different operations,” he said.

He said any potential environmental issues would be closely monitored by authorities.

“We are making sure that the EPA licence is followed,” he said.

“We do understand people are concerned about the possibility of dust from the ore deposits and people are concerned about Spencer Gulf — and so’s Port Augusta Council.

He said dust and fly ash, which had been a major problem for the site in the past, were being mitigated by a revegetation project.

Construction at the port is expected to begin in mid-2021, with the first shipment scheduled for the end of 2022.

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