Some 27 companies have expressed interest in designing, financing, building and operating a new multi-user iron facility at the Esperance port.
Esperance Ports Sea and Land chief executive Shayne Flanagan said the port had been encouraged by the response, with interested parties having until March 1 to apply for short-listing to be involved with the project.
It was reported yesterday Brookfield Infrastructure Group Australia and Qube Holdings had emerged as the frontrunners to build the 10 million tonne expansion, for an estimated $200 million.
Two other major companies, Asciano, Australia’s biggest rail freight and ports operator, and construction giant McConnell Dowell, were also among the companies reportedly vying for the project.
“Despite recent media speculation about possible proponents and project costs, the scope of the project will determine what new export infrastructure will be required at the port and its cost,” Mr Flanagan said.
“The scope can only be finalised and the cost determined after the shortlisted proponents determine the capacity of infrastructure required by the mining companies, and the companies are comfortable with signing long-term take or pay contracts.”
A process was in place for the short-listed companies to be announced by the end of April.