The company that operates Wyndham Port hopes to sell infrastructure from the old Kununurra sugar mill or the mill site to the Chinese conglomerate that has won exclusive rights to develop prime land on the Ord River.
Cambridge Gulf bought the old mill and the 19ha site from Ord River Cane Growers Pty Ltd for $1.65 million last month.
Cambridge Gulf chief executive Tony Chafer said yesterday that Chinese developer Kimberley Agricultural Investments would be offered the infrastructure from the mill, which closed when the Ord sugar industry folded in 2007.
KAI plans to build a $450 million mill as part of its long-term plans to grow sugar cane on 40,000ha of irrigated land in the east Kimberley and the Northern Territory.
It is understood KAI wants to build the mill close to the border as part of overall investment estimated at $1.5 billion.
Mr Chafer said that if it proved too difficult to service a site near the border or to gain the necessary approvals, KAI should consider building on the site of the old mill.
He said the old site already had the necessary environmental approvals, power, a bitumen access road and water supply.
Cambridge Gulf, which has a majority of shareholders in the local community, hopes to work closely with KAI and is optimistic about handling the sugar and ethanol exported from Wyndham.
"We regard ourselves as good community citizens and we see the opportunities for the company through the port. Making it as easy as possible for these guys to come in and get set up and start exporting is a real benefit for us," Mr Chafer said.
Cambridge Gulf began negotiating to buy the old mill site last year when shareholders became concerned that it might be sold for non-agricultural purposes.
Federal regional development minister Simon Cream will be in Wyndham today to officially open the $10 million port upgrade.
The upgrade is part of the $512 million spent by the State and Federal governments on infrastructure to prepare for the extension of the Ord irrigation scheme."Previously the maximum size ships we could bring alongside were 26,000 tonne deadweight and now we can get 34,000t deadweight ships alongside," Mr Chafer said.
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