South Australian regional bulk port development

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South Australian regional bulk port development

South Australia bulk port capacity
Potential investment options (Stage 2)
Spencer Gulf region, SA
Small towns, rural communities and remote areas
Regional Connectivity
Problem/Opportunity timeframe
Medium term (5-10 years)
Proposed By
SA Government
Date added to the IPL
17 February 2016


To date, South Australian bulk export volumes (including grain, mining and resource operations) have been accommodated within existing ports and landside transport infrastructure. The 2015 Australian Infrastructure Audit noted that expansion of a number of regional ports, as well as development of new high-capacity ports, could support further increases in exports, especially of mineral resources and agricultural products.
For mineral producers, there is a particular requirement to develop deep water ports with the capacity to accommodate the 
‘capesize’ vessels that are essential to compete in global iron ore markets.
The lack of a clear path to market (including high-capacity, deep ports) can be a 
barrier to attracting capital to new mining projects, agricultural production or potential hydrogen exports. However, it is difficult to attract capital for new port projects without committed export demand from new projects.

Potential options

The proposal would consider options for the development of bulk commodity port capacity in the Spencer Gulf region. There are a range of sites for ports and associated investment/operating models that could meet potential demand:

  • The existing Whyalla port in the northern Spencer Gulf.
  • The proposed Cape Hardy port on the central eastern Eyre Peninsula, proposed to be developed by Iron Road Limited.
  • The proposed Port Spencer on the central eastern Eyre Peninsula.
  • The existing Port Bonython in the northern Spencer Gulf.
  • The proposed Myponie Point Bulk Commodity export facility on the northern Yorke Peninsula.
  • Other shallow harbour ports and transshipment vessels can also be used to move bulk commodities, such as grain, to larger vessels anchored in deeper waters off the Spencer Gulf.
  • The proposed Port Playford at the head of Spencer Gulf.

Next steps

Proponent to complete business case development (Stage 3 of Infrastructure Australia’s Assessment Framework).