EPA  approves API s Anketell Point port
An artist's impression of the Anketell Point port.

The new Anketell Point multi-user port facility near Karratha has been recommended for approval by the Environmental Protection Authority.

EPA chairman Paul Vogel said today that comprehensive conditions would guide the construction of project by WA mining company API Management Pty Ltd.

The company aims to process and export about 45 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of iron ore from API's West Pilbara Iron Ore Project.

The proposed port, 30km north-east of Karratha and 6km north-west of Wickham, includes establishing and operating a deepwater port with iron ore stockpiling, transfer and ship loading facilities.

The port will have an initial capacity of 115 Mtpa. Development will occur over 20 years and have an ultimate capacity expected to be around 350 Mtpa of iron ore.

Dr Vogel said assessing the proposal had proven complex, with conditions recommended by the EPA addressing numerous environmental factors including flora, vegetation, fauna, surface water, groundwater, noise, marine environment, and air quality.

"A strict suite of conditions has been recommended to ensure the proposal meets the EPA's environmental objectives," Dr Vogel said.

"These conditions include restricting impacts to seabed habitats from dredging and undertaking State of the Marine Environment Surveys to monitor and report on potential changes during the construction phase of the proposal.

"Managing light spill from port facilities on turtle beaches and managing vessels within the port to prevent, detect and control marine pests are also included in the conditions."

Dr Vogel said there would be unavoidable impacts to marine habitats including coral communities and mangroves but the majority of these would recover within five years.

The EPA also advised that further studies would need to be conducted for the ultimate capacity of 350 Mtpa to ensure air quality at Point Sampson and Wickham meets national standards and potential impacts from additional dredging are evaluated.

Dr Vogel said the proposed expansion of the port to its ultimate capacity would also require additional water for operation and dust control.

The EPA's report to the Minister for Environment is now open for a two-week public appeal period, closing on August 13, 2012.

The news comes as the State Government announced that it had chosen Lumsden Point, near Port Hedland, as the site for the proposed Pilbara maritime common use facility.

Anketell Point was considered but Lumsden Point was said to have been favoured because it already has essential infrastructure in place.

The West Australian

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