Australia-based mining giant BHP Billiton has assigned USD 240 million to purchase six additional tugs and construct a new eight pen Tug Harbour at Hunt Point in the Port Hedland Port, Australia’s largest bulk export port.
BHP Billiton said that the investment will also include the upgrade of workshop facilities, operational and service berths and two small boat moorings at the existing Nelson Point Tug Harbour.
“The project will mitigate the risk of a channel blockage by ensuring the continued safe escort of vessels in and out of the Port Hedland Inner Harbour.
“This project will enable BHP Billiton to safely meet projected demand for tug services and effectively manage shipping risk for all users of the Port Hedland Port,” said BHP Billiton Iron Ore President, Jimmy Wilson.
The new Tug Harbour improves upon previous designs with the facility requiring minimal dredging and marine-based infrastructure and having less environmental and visual impact.
Earthworks are scheduled to commence in the December 2015 quarter with construction expected to be complete in the September 2016 quarter. The project is expected to create up to 200 jobs in Port Hedland during construction.
The investment comes amid launching of USD 70 million upgrade plans at the port, which will include construction of a new marine control tower and operations centre due to be operational in early 2018.