A SECOND iron ore exporter has signed a deal to export 1.5 million tonnes of ore annually from WA’s Port of Esperance.

Gold Valley Iron Ore is expecting to start shipping in September. It will share infrastructure at the port with longstanding customer Mineral Resources Ltd.

Under the new agreement with Southern Ports, Gold Valley Iron Ore will be granted access to critical iron ore infrastructure at the port, including rail receival facilities, conveyors, shed space and the ship loader.

Ore will be transported by road from the company’s Wiluna West Mine to Kalgoorlie, where it will be transferred to rail.

This is the first time a second customer has been able to access the iron ore circuit through the port and the first from the Wiluna area.

Iron ore is the Port of Esperance’s primary export commodity, with more than 7.6 million tonnes exported in the financial year 2022-23 and almost 37 million tonnes from 2018 to 2023.

WA Ports Minister David Michael said opening up the port to a second exporter for the first time will see iron ore trade capacity maximised, resulting in a positive boost to the Western Australian economy.

“I am pleased to see the use of the rail system for this trade, which would otherwise be trucked by road to the Port of Geraldton,” he said.

The government was continuing to invest in regional ports and in the recent State Budget invested $116 million in Southern Ports’ infrastructure upgrades and initiatives.

Southern Ports chief executive officer Keith Wilks said the deal, a first in the history of the Port of Esperance will have additional economic benefits for the region, and also marks a significant milestone for its iron ore circuit.