BHP in secret port deal: report

Port Headland deal said to put BHP's expansion plans ahead of other interests.

A secret deal between BHP Billiton (BHP) and the Western Australian government effectively requires any potential new users of the Port Hedland export terminal to demonstrate their entry would not damage the mining giant’s expansion plans, according to The Australian Financial Review.

The newspaper believes the so-called Harriet Point agreement, inked in the mid-2000s, does not grant BHP the right to veto any attempted access, but may allow the company to influence the Port Hedland Port Authority.

The report comes as the WA government investigates ways to to open up access to Port Hedland - Australia’s busiest port - to encourage production by smaller iron ore miners.

North West Infrastructure, including Atlas Iron and Brockman Mining, and Aurizon holdings are among the groups currently competing for space.

BHP declined to comment.