A $40M bulk minerals shiploader has been pledged to the Burnie Port by the federal Coalition government.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said theshiploader would secure the minerals export supply chain in Tasmania.

“This new shiploader will have a greater reach and height to accommodate bigger vessels and handle a broad range of commodities, including zinc, nickel, copper, pyrite, lead and differing grades of iron ore,” Mr McCormack said.

Liberal Senator for Tasmania Richard Colbeck said the investment would be transformative for local industry.

“This new shiploader will replace the existing 50 year old unit and will dramatically increase productivity by a minimum of 50% in ship loading rates.”

Liberal Candidate for Braddon Gavin Pearce welcomed the investment as a big win for jobs.

“The west coast and mining is a key engine room for our economy and we’re backing the industry to create more jobs with better supply chains,” Mr Pearce said.

The announcement has come just over a week from the 18 May federal election. Burnie is in the electorate of Braddon, a marginal electorate that is currently held by Labor’s Justine Keay.

But politics aside, the announcement was welcomed by chief executive of TasRail, Steven Dietrich, who said the proposed investment would provide certainty for the burgeoning mining industry.

“The new shiploader will dramatically increase productivity and reliability therefore export opportunities for our customers, which in turn should create more jobs and security in regional Tasmania,” Mr Dietrich said.

“Bulk minerals shiploaders are used the world over and are a proven and reliable ship loading system.”

The current shiploader at Burnie now has seen five decades of service and it is estimated to have loaded about 25m tonnes of high grade concentrates and iron ore for export.

ADVERTISEMENT