Port Hedland may yet get a new outer harbour. Fortescue Metals is considering the development for its magnetite joint venture with Baosteel and Formosa.
The joint venture was formed in August under the name FMG Iron Bridge, and will develop a set of magnetite assets that have been spun out of Fortescue’s flagship iron ore export business.
Speaking at Port Hedland on Tuesday, Fortescue chief executive Nev Power said the bigger second stage of the FMG Iron Bridge joint venture would likely require its own port structures.
‘‘We will probably build a stand-alone facility for that and it could be through an outer harbour,’’ he said.
BHP Billiton was famously planning to build a new $US20 billion outer harbour at Port Hedland before abandoning those plans last year as iron ore prices weakened.
Mr Power stressed any outer harbour considered for FMG Iron Bridge would likely be smaller and cheaper than BHP’s version.
Despite raising the prospect of a stand-alone port for the joint venture, Mr Power reiterated his belief that significant amounts of spare capacity remained available within Port Hedland’s inner harbour.