Eyre Peninsula Cooperative Bulk Handling (EPCBH) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iron Road Limited to work together to advance the development of a new grain handling business with export facilities at Cape Hardy.
The signing demonstrates the parties’ intention towards a consortium approach to the building of the grain export facilities.
EPCBH is expected to play an important role in securing additional grain supply, complementing Iron Road’s existing agreement with Emerald Grain.
Cooperative spokesperson Bruce Heddle said the group intends to pursue any advantage for the region’s farmers.
“This isn’t just about improving competitiveness for cooperative members, but for the whole of the Eyre Peninsula.
“The new port provides a significant opportunity for grain growers and we are committed to exploring every option that may bring advantages for farmers.”
A business case for funding a feasibility study for the project has been funded by the Australian Government through the Farm Co-operatives and Collaboration Pilot Program (Farming Together).
Mr Heddle said the ageing infrastructure and lack of competition in the region was driving high supply chain costs.
“We have some of the highest unit costs in Australia, and the proposed port has the potential to help reduce these costs.
“The Central Eyre Iron Project (CEIP) already has the support of the State and Federal governments, with major state approval already secured.”
Iron Road Managing Director Andrew Stocks said the CEIP would benefit the broader region beyond the mining operations.
“We welcome the partnership with EPCBH and look forward to working with the Cooperative and others to leverage the relative strengths of our industries and advance this project.”
“We believe the development of multi-user facilities with cross commodity access for other industries, such as grain, will open up substantial additional export and import opportunities and maximise benefits at regional and state levels. To this end Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula, on behalf of Iron Road, recently called for preliminary expressions of interest for export, import and other opportunities at the proposed Cape Hardy port,” Mr Stocks said.
EPCBH was recently formed by Eyre Peninsula grain growers to improve the competitiveness of the region’s grain industry.
At their formation, the group expressed an intention to discuss a potential partnership with Iron Road in regards to the export of grains through the Cape Hardy port.
The deep water port will be a first for South Australia.
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