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Federal and State Governments need to invest in a transport hub at Port Augusta to head off a costly logistics logjam, the South Australian Chamber of Mines and Energy says.
SACOME chief executive Phil Sutherland said yesterday some of the $2.8 billion earmarked for infrastructure in last week's Federal Budget should be put towards building a world class transport hub, including staging facilities to hold and transit materials and other goods from one mode of transport to another.
"South Australia risks losing millions of dollars as a result of delays and foregone sales if we end up with a transport bottleneck at Port Augusta," Mr Sutherland said.
"The national road and rail network converges at Port Augusta, with easy access to port facilities at Whyalla and Port Pirie and, as the mineral developments come on stream in the highly prospective north of the State, the demand on transport infrastructure will increase considerably.
"Vastly increased military movements associated with an expansion of Defence Department activity at the Cultana training area, between Whyalla and Port Augusta, will also add to the potential congestion."
Some of the projects which would move product through Port Augusta include Oxiana's $530 million Prominent Hill gold/copper project, the proposed doubling of production at BHP Billiton's Olympic Dam copper/uranium mine, several mineral sands projects in the state's west and any potential finds in the northwestern Musgrave province.
Mr Sutherland said governments needed to be pro-active rather than waiting for mining projects to get started, as companies had to factor in transport costs before deciding whether to go ahead with projects.
SACOME said governments also needed to think creatively about how to solve congestion problems on South Rd.
Mr Sutherland said piecemeal fixes would just shunt congestion problems from one area to another.
A spokeswoman for Federal Transport Minister Warren Truss said the SA Government had not raised the issue of Port Augusta with the Department of Transport and Regional Services.
"But the Perth-Adelaide corridor study is nearing completion and it may pick up those issues which could be looked at down the track."
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