MACQUARIE Capital has signed a joint development agreement with Iron Road and Eyre Peninsula Co-operative Bulk Handling Limited (EPCBH) in South Australia in relation to the Cape Hardy Stage 1 port project.
Valued at $250 million, the project has been planned as a a multi-commodity and multi-user deepwater port.
The project is seen as having the capacity to export up to 1.5 million tonnes (Mt) per annum of grain, which will be its foundation commodity .
Via EPCBH, growers will be able to hold shares in the Cape Hardy facility, which is located 7 kilometres south of Port Neill on the eastern EP.
“We are delighted that an Australian institution with the investment capability of Macquarie Capital is putting its weight behind Cape Hardy,” EPCBH CEO Tim Scholtz said.
Stage 1 of the Cape Hardy development will include a 900-metre wharf capable of handling Panamax vessels, as used for large-volume grain exports, with capacity to expand under Stage 2.
The proposed site has 1100 hectares of land available for mineral, agricultural and other export industries, and imports of inputs for mining and agriculture, as well as potential to become a green hydrogen export hub.
Upon completion of Stage 2 works, Cape Hardy will be the only southern Australian port between Esperance in Western Australia and Port Kembla in New South Wales capable of accommodating Capesize vessels.
These ships are used to transport coal and ore, and would be used primarily to ship iron ore from the planned Central Eyre Iron Project, as well as product from other EP resource projects which currently lack an efficient path to global markets.
Cape Hardy has received a Federal Government funding commitment of $25 million, and is the only South Australian project currently listed on Infrastructure Australia’s Priority List.
Financial close of the Cape Hardy project is planned for Q3 2021, and its timeline indicates operations will start in early 2023.
Infrastructure Australia has identified the potential for Cape Hardy to ultimately integrate to the Australian National Rail Network which would provide the basis for a port that can service central and southern regional Australia.
Source: Iron Road
Surge in EP competition
Ahead of last year’s EP rail line closure, T-Ports started building a facility at Lucky Bay near Cowell, and an accumulation site at Lock, both on the Eastern EP.
They received first grain last year, and T-Ports loaded its first export vessel earlier this year.
T-Ports is now providing competition to Viterra, which until last year was the only bulk handler on EP, with export terminals at Thevenard near Ceduna, and at Port Lincoln.
Cape Hardy is located between T-Ports’ Lucky Bay facility and Viterra’s Port Lincoln terminal, and sits a short distance north of Peninsula Ports’ Port Spencer site.
Port Spencer is 20km north-east of Tumby Bay, and construction started there recently.
In typical production years, EP can produce around 2.5Mt of grain, with roughly 90 per cent of it exported.
The region competes with Western Australia, which is typically Australia’s biggest grain exporter, and has Australia’s most efficient and cost-effective supply chain.
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