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More than 150 jobs will be created in the Port Augusta region once the new owners of the former Northern Power Station site build a $250 million port.
Flinders Power has sold the former power station site to CU-River Mining — a South Australian iron ore magnetite producer which has mine and exploration licences in the state's far north.
The new owners plan to turn the site into a "bulk commodity, transhipment port facility" which will boost jobs in the Upper Spencer Gulf town.
It expects more than 150 people will be employed during construction and up to 100 permanent positions will be created once the new $250 million port is up and running.
Construction will start once feasibility and approvals are complete and the port should be operational within two years. It will see the return of commercial shipping to Port Augusta for the first time in 50 years.
It is proposed the port facility will be capable of handling iron ore, grain and other commodities.
Barges will be loaded at the port then sail into Spencer Gulf's deeper water to unload onto larger, Cape-sized vessels, which have a capacity of approximately 175,000 tonnes.
'Direct export pathway' for SA mining companyCU-River external affairs manager Shelaye Boothey said the 1,068-hectare site — about the size of the Adelaide CBD — was an important acquisition for the company.
"CU-River has a strong project pipeline and an ambitious growth strategy that will see it headquartered in South Australia for decades to come," she said.
"The purchase of the site is a significant, strategic decision that allows CU-River to secure a direct export pathway for the 15 million tonnes of high-grade iron ore magnetite it plans to mine each year from 2026.
"However, it is our intention to develop the port as a multi-user facility, providing Spencer Gulf and far-north industry with further export opportunities."
Ms Boothey said due to the significant size of the site there was considerable scope for the land to be further developed for a number of commercial uses.
"We will be examining the feasibility of constructing a large-scale solar farm," she said.
"However, we will be exploring every option to ensure the site's commercial potential is maximised.
"Further development of the site will result in more jobs for Port Augusta, making this an exciting prospect."
In May 2016, the Norther Power Station was closed, forcing about 400 workers out of a job.
Its two 80-metre boiler stacks were demolished about 18 months later and its 200-metre chimney stack was destroyed in November 2018.
The sale is expected to be finalised in April 2019.
Flinders Power chief executive officer Peter Georgaris said the company was committed to meeting its closure and rehabilitation obligations.
"Rehabilitation and remediation are core to our agreed plan," he said.
"We are focused on a successful transition to a new and exciting future for this significant infrastructure site. I believe the transition of the site into a port facility is an outstanding opportunity for Port Augusta and the region."
Last July, Flinders Power was fined $2,200 by the Environment Protection Authority for letting potentially toxic dust blanket Port Augusta in January 2017.
The company was fined in an out-of-court settlement.
Heavy rain and wind caused ash from the coal power station to cover the town.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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