Sunday 22nd Jul, 2018

Preliminary plans for new Kangaroo Island port moving ahead

Image: NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center, public domain
Image: NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center, public domain

KANGAROO Island Plantation Timbers (KPT) announced recently preliminary plans for a deep water port in Smith Bay were moving ahead.

The company aims to use the port, located on the northern coast of the island, as a bulk log or woodchip export facility.

In a recent letter to the Australian Securities Exchange, KPT managing director John Sergeant wrote that the company was working to eliminate outstanding matters of contention before lodging its environmental impact statement for the potential port at Smith Bay, so the EIS could be lodged “in a form capable of rapid approval”.

Mr Sergeant wrote that measures that the company was taking involved refinements to the design of in-water structures to increase protection for a nearby abalone farm, and to limit the causeway footprint in deeper water, while still enabling Panamax vessels to berth safely.

The company is also looking to relocate the dredge footprint “in such a way as to increase separation from the nearest sensitive receptors”.

Also, Mr Sergeant wrote that the company was working to refine the design of on-land facilities and was working with local and state government to find a road route to Smith Bay.

Pending the satisfactory completion of coastal process modelling for the revised in-water structure (expected in August), Mr Sergeant wrote that the company was expecting to have all outstanding matters sufficiently finalised to enable the lodgement of the EIS at around the end of the current quarter.

However, Mr Sergeant noted that the approval process for the port development at Smith Bay remains subject to factors outside the company’s control.

Meanwhile, Yumbah Aquaculture, which owns the abalone farm adjacent to the site, has concerns about the impact the port development could have.

Yumbah Kangaroo Island general manager Dave Connell said: “KPT’s ASX announcement on Tuesday 10 July stating it has made ‘refinements to the design of in-water structures to provide increased protection’ for our abalone farm, is deeply concerning”.

“Once again, KPT is attempting to downplay the significance and scale of this development and the devastating impact it will have on our business, Smith Bay and Kangaroo Island’s north coast.”

KPT announced last year that it had bought a pontoon from Hyundai Heavy Industries in South Korea, which would constitute the berth-face for the planned port at Smith Bay.

The company last March announced that the 167-metre-long pontoon was undergoing reconditioning at Dung Quat shipyard in Vietnam.

At the time, Mr Sergeant said the pontoon was 40 metres wide and had its own system of ballast tanks.

KPT is a timber company that owns roughly 25,000 hectares of productive land on Kangaroo Island, and a potential port site at Ballast Head, in addition to the one at Smith Bay.

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