A port may rise out of the decommissioned power station site at Port Augusta if a South Australian mining company’s plans come to fruition.

Cu-River Mining announced it had acquired the 1068-hectare former power station site and was planning to transform the site into a multi-user bulk export facility.

The $250m port facility is to be capable of handling iron ore, grain and other commodities via barge transhipment to ocean-going bulkers in the Spencer Gulf.

The facility is expected to have an initial capacity of 15m tonnes per year, but the company estimates future export potential to be more than 50m tonnes per year.

The company said construction would begin once feasibility and approvals are complete, with export operations expected to begin within two years.


Cu-River external affairs manager Shelaye Boothey said the purchase of the site was a significant strategic decision that would allow the company a direct export pathway for the 15m tonnes of iron ore magnetite it plans to mine every year from 2026.

“However, it is our intention to develop the port as a multi-user facility, providing Spencer Gulf and far-north industry with further export opportunities,” she said.

Ms Boothey said that due to the significant size of the site there is considerable scope for the land to be further developed for a number of commercial uses.

“We will be examining the feasibility of constructing a large-scale solar farm,” she said.

“However, we will be exploring every option to ensure the site’s commercial potential is maximised.

The power station on the site ceased operations in May 2016, and Flinders Power has carried out decommissioning and demolition works and rehabilitating the site.

The sale of the site is expected to be finalised in early April 2019.

State minister for energy and mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan welcomed the plan to transform the old Port Augusta power station.

“The transformation of the northern power station site is just one of many business opportunities that are being explored across the Upper Spencer Gulf and Far North that will enhance the economic importance of our region to the state and the nation,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.

“CU River’s proposal would re-establish Port Augusta as an international transport hub by using advances in ‘trans-shipping’ to access deeper water in the Upper Spencer Gulf to ship commodities such as iron ore.

“It is significant that CU River’s plan to develop a bulk commodity and port facility makes use of existing infrastructure on the site, including a 5-kilometre rail loop and unloading systems.”

Flinders Power chief executive officer Peter Georgaris said the company is committed to meeting its closure and rehabilitation obligations.

“We are focused on a successful transition to a new and exciting future for this significant infrastructure site. I believe the transition of the site into a port facility is an outstanding opportunity for Port Augusta and the region,” he said.

”CU-River is a well credentialled organisation with an existing presence in the state and exciting plans for the future that involve jobs creation and economic benefit.”

Cu-River, established in 2014, produces iron ore magnetite with a mine and has several exploration leases in far north South Australia.