Utah Point terminal in spotlight as ports authority suffers revenue dip
The State Government’s decision to help junior miners deal with the iron ore price crunch cost the Pilbara Ports Authority about $50 million in lost revenue last financial year — but WA Treasury still made $100 million.
Pilbara Ports Authority, which runs the State’s iron ore ports at Dampier and Port Hedland, declared an after-tax profit of $119.7 million last financial year, according to its annual report.
That was $79.2 million down on the previous financial year, on operating revenue that dipped 11 per cent to $388.7 million, despite volumes through the two ports rising to a record 633.5 million tonnes.
The PPA confirmed the bulk of that revenue dip could be attributed to the State Government’s decision to give a $2.50-a-tonne discount to iron ore miners that shipped product through Port Hedland’s Utah Point terminal.
Export volumes disclosed by Mineral Resources and Atlas Iron, the terminal’s two biggest users, indicate the discount cost the PPA up to $52 million for the financial year.
The State Government took $100.5 million in dividends from its operations, partly based on the previous financial year’s $198.9 million after-tax result. In 2014-15, the PPA paid $164.5 million.
The result is likely to heighten tensions in the debate over whether the Utah Point terminal should be sold. State Parliament returns on October 11.