CONCERN is mounting about potential adverse environmental and social impacts on rural communities from a rush to build ports along Eyre Peninsula's coastline to service the region's mining industry.
On Monday, Iron Road announced its plans for another port development at Cape Hardy, between Port Neill and Tumby Bay, within kilometres of Centrex Metals' Port Spencer project at Lipson Cove.
They will join Spencer Gulf Port Link Consortium's proposed multi-million dollar bulk commodities port at Port Bonython, near Whyalla, and Iron Clad's Lucky Bay project.
Rural communities believe there will be cumulative problems if all port proposals get off the ground.
Iron Road has secured 1100 hectares for the proposed deepwater port, which would have a 30- million tonne a year export capacity and be capable of loading various bulk carriers, including cape-size vessels – possibly making it the only port in SA that could handle them.
The company plans to export 20mt/year of high-quality iron concentrates for at least 30 years with an extra 10mt capacity for third party users, which could include agricultural commodities.
Iron Road managing director Andrew Stocks said "all options are on the table".
This could involve grain handling facilities to increase the port's capacity.
A definitive feasibility study is under way for the Central Eyre Iron Project mine, near Warrambo, which could be the State's largest resources project since Olympic Dam with the potential to deliver around 1 billion tonnes of iron concentrates.
Product would be transported by rail to the Cape Hardy port, with the potential to connect to the national rail network in the future.
Mr Stocks said the selection of the port location and preferred export infrastructure was a key step in realising the company's vision for "becoming a trusted and reliable supplier of premium iron concentrates to the Asian marketplace".
Meanwhile, Centrex Metals is coming under increasing pressure from environmentalists and concerned rural residents about the social and environmental impacts of the proposed port at Lipson Cove, given its value for conservation, tourism and farming.
Residents are worried about the industrialisation of the peaceful farming region and the social problems that may be associated with a large mining camp at Tumby Bay, road train traffic 24 hours, seven days a week, irreversible damage to the sensitive environment and water resources, impact on wildlife, damage to the tourism industry, and pollution.
*Full report in Stock Journal, December 6 issue, 2012.