Macquarie Capital has signed a joint development agreement with Iron Road and Eyre Peninsula Co-operative Bulk Handling (EPCBH) in relation to the Cape Hardy port project.
The $250-million multi-commodity and multi-user deep water port proposed at Cape Hardy, about seven kilometres south of Port Neill, will provide infrastructure for the region's grain growers and other commodity producers, delivering economic development for Eyre Peninsula.
Macquarie Capital has thrown its support behind stage one of the development and the company's division director Andrew Newman said it was pleased to be part of a "very important project".
"Cape Hardy is a project of national economic significance and competitive advantage, with a strong proposition for grain farmers and the potential to unlock significant future economic activity," he said.
"A deep-water port would support producers across the state, and Cape Hardy is ideally situated to house a multi-commodity port that could be accessed by agricultural and resources producers alike.
"We are pleased to be working with Iron Road and EPCBH on this very important project for the Eyre Peninsula and South Australia."
The proposed Cape Hardy project will include a 900-metre jetty and 1100 hectares of available land, is expected to export up to 1.5 million tonnes of grain per year, generate more than 400 direct and indirect jobs during construction, remove significant road train traffic from Port Lincoln, the Tod Highway and Lincoln Highway, and have growers be significant shareholders in the facility through EPCBH.
The site is capable of expansion to cater for direct loading of capesize vessels - under stage two of the project - which would further enhance exporting capability, while the available land could be used for other industries such as mineral and agricultural exports, plus imports of key inputs to the mining and agriculture sectors, and as a potential hydrogen export hub.
The port is a key component of the $2.4 billion Central Eyre Iron Project.
Chief executive officer of EPCBH Tim Scholz said the development would deliver benefits to Eyre Peninsula farmers through much-needed supply chain competition, and transport cost savings.
"Importantly, the joint development agreement has a clear objective that farmers will be significant shareholders in the facility in what will be first opportunity for Eyre Peninsula grain growers to have an equity stake in infrastructure since the 2008 deregulation of Australia's wheat trade," he said.
"We are delighted that an Australian institution with the investment capability of Macquarie Capital is putting its weight behind Cape Hardy."
Iron Road chief executive officer Larry Ingle said it had been working closely with key stakeholders on the port development for the past eight years, as part of the Central Eyre Iron Project.
"We are pleased that Macquarie Capital shares our vision of the near-term benefits and future opportunities this vital infrastructure unlocks for Eyre Peninsula communities," he said.
"A major partnership milestone with Macquarie Capital and EPCBH represents a key step forward in de-risking this important project for South Australia."
The Cape Hardy project has received a federal government funding commitment of $25m and is the only South Australian project currently listed on Infrastructure Australia's priority list.
It has received community support, plus that of the Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association. It also has a Registered Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the Barngarla Aboriginal Corporation.
The financial close for the project is planned for the third quarter in 2021, enabling construction of the port to begin in early 2023.