BHP Billiton will purchase six additional tugs and construct a new eight pen Tug Harbour at Hunt Point in the Port Hedland Port, the mining giant announced on Tuesday.
The US$240 million investment will also include the upgrade of workshop facilities, operational and service berths, as well as two small moorings at the existing Nelson Point Tug Harbour, creating about 200 jobs during construction.
BHP Billiton Iron Ore President Jimmy Wilson said the new Tug Harbour improves upon previous designs with the facility requiring minimal dredging and marine-based infrastructure and having less environmental and visual impact.
“The project will mitigate the risk of a channel blockage by ensuring the continued safe escort of vessels in and out of the Port Hedland Inner Harbour,” Mr Wilson added.
“This project will enable BHP Billiton to safely meet projected demand for tug services and effectively manage shipping risk for all users of the Port Hedland Port.”
According to him, the project is expected to be completed in the September 2016 quarter, with earthworks scheduled to commence in the December 2015 quarter.