Balla Balla in­ter­est lifts con­fi­dence

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr and Stu­art McKin­non

Gov­ern­ment and in­dus­try bod­ies in the Pil­bara have met for­malised Chi­nese in­ter­est in the $5.6 bil­lion Balla Balla In­fra­struc­ture Project with en­thu­si­asm.

Con­struc­tion of the mine, port and rail project was given the green light last week af­ter the BBI Group signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with China State Con­struc­tion En­gi­neer­ing Cor­po­ra­tion.

Kar­ratha and Districts Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try chief ex­ec­u­tive John Lally said the news would boost busi­ness con­fi­dence and ac­tiv­ity.

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said he was pleased to see a com­mit­ment to pri­ori­tis­ing lo­cal pro­cure­ment. The project is ex­pected to de­liver more than 3000 jobs dur­ing con­struc­tion and about 900 jobs dur­ing pro­duc­tion.

The num­ber of those jobs based in the Pil­bara de­pends on the avail­abil­ity of hous­ing and seal­ing of the Kar­ratha to Tom Price Road.

Re­gional Devel­op­ment Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan an­nounced $50 mil­lion to seal the next stage of the road as part of La­bor’s plan for the Pil­bara dur­ing the election cam­paign.

“We will put it in as a to­tally State Gov­ern­ment-funded project,” she said.

“The re­main­ing parts of the road re­main­ing will be an ex­pen­sive and com­plex project and we will be putting that on our shop­ping list in our pri­or­i­ties for Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment fund­ing.”

BBIG chair­man Jon Young said the MOU was a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone for the project.

“Part­ner­ing with China State Con­struc­tion En­gi­neer­ing Cor­po­ra­tion pro­vides BBIG the op­por­tu­nity to ac­cess CSCEC’s large-scale in­fra­struc­ture de­liv­ery ca­pa­bil­i­ties,” he said.

If a fi­nal in­vest­ment de­ci­sion is made, con­struc­tion could be­gin on the project as early as next year.

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