Development of a new grain export facility on Eyre Peninsula has progressed with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.
Iron Road announced on Tuesday it had signed a memorandum with Eyre Peninsula Co-operative Bulk Handling to work together to advance the development of a new grain handling business with export facilities at Cape Hardy.
The co-operative was formed in August with farmers from across Eyre Peninsula to pursue any opportunity for growers to improve competitiveness within the region’s grain industry.
Co-operative spokesperson Bruce Heddle said the signing of the memorandum was an important step, but it was one of many to come.
“Next we will further develop structures, get necessary expert advice such as financial advice, design advice and legal advice,” he said.
“This (memorandum) give us a basis to work through that process.”
The co-operative is expected to help secure additional grain supply, complementing Iron Road’s agreement with Emerald Grain.
Iron Road and Emerald Grain are working together to develop a new grain distribution and supply chain network utilising the planned rail and port facilities as part of the Central Eyre Iron Project.
Iron Road managing director Andrew Stocks said the project would unlock significant benefits well beyond its mining and ore processing operations.
“We operate on a principle of third party access to our planned infrastructure business,” he said.
“The approved deep water port at Cape Hardy will be a first for South Australia and a fresh approach to infrastructure development in the region.”
Mr Heddle said feedback from farmers had so far been positive but support from the farming community was needed for this to move forward.
“Our judgement is the sort of tonnages we talk about on Eyre Peninsula, between one and three million tonnes, is not enough to fund an alternative, state-of-the-art deep sea port.”