A multi million dollar dredging program has been announced for the Port of Karumba.
The $6.8 million program will begin in the coming months to create a channel depth of 3.2 metres.
The Karumba port channel was developed to facilitate the Century Mine operations in 1999.
The ongoing annual maintenance dredging of the channel was undertaken by the port owner and manager Ports North and the cost recovered from the Century Mine, until it suspended export operations through the port in 2016.
After heavy community lobbying, the Queensland Government last year came up with a $1.7 million contribution for dredging the port but that was only sufficient to allow small vessels in shallower draft in.
Since then, Ports North has been working with New Century Resources who took over the Century facilities, both at the port and mine in 2017, to re-establish transhipment operations through the Port of Karumba.
NCR’s projected annual export volume is 300,000 – 400,000 tonnes over an estimated mine life of six-and-a-half-years.
“Ports North and New Century Resources have come up with a viable channel maintenance agreement for the Port of Karumba,” Ports North chairman Russell Beer said.
“It’s terrific news for the region’s port users, and for the economic sustainability of the Port of Karumba.
“The key now is for all regional stakeholders to take hold of this 6.5-year commitment by NCR and consolidate their industry well into the future,” he said.
NCR managing director Patrick Walta said the new operation would be carrying the baton for exports from the Century Mine and will require the same channel depth and infrastructure.
“It means the port user community in Karumba will have consistent, reliable channel access for years to come,” he said.
“Also, part of our operations will be improving and developing infrastructure to attract new industry. The North West Mineral Province is one of the richest in the world, and we see Century as becoming a regional hub for the incredible assets of the region.”
Transport and Main Roads minister Mark Bailey said the investment followed the decision by New Century Resources (NCR) to recommence shipping operations through Karumba from October this year.
“This will be a significant contributor to regional growth in the north west of the state,” Mr Bailey said.
“It is certainly being well received by the local council and port users who appreciate its importance to the economy of Karumba and the Gulf region more broadly.”