Carpentaria Council Considers Taking Over Port of Karumba

In Infrastructure & Operations, Latest News

Port of KarumbaThe Carpentaria Shire Council has indicated it would consider operating the Port of Karumba, east of Burketown, to ensure profits generated by the port stayed in the region.

However speaking to the North West Star, Carpentaria Mayor Fred Pascoe said Council would only take on the port if another mine in the area would commit to using the port over a minimum 10 year contract.

Miner MMG currently uses the port to ship zinc from it’s Century Mine, however the company has announced that the Century Mine will close next year.

The Mayor said Council was considering taking over the port as current owners, Ports North, were too “East Coast Centric” with profits from Port of Karumba being syphoned into the port at Cairns.

“Karumba is treated like a poor cousin,” the Mayor told the North West Star. 

Premier Campbell Newman is reportedly supportive of the Council’s plans.

However the Mayor said Council  recently decided it could not afford operations of the port considering MMG’s intention to close down Century Mine next year.

“It creates an uncertainty on getting revenue,” Mr Pascoe said.

“If another mine committed 10 to 15 years we would have grabbed it in a flash.”

The council hoped instead to have a representative on the Ports North Board, as they were “all east coast personnel.”

Mr Pascoe said he would like to “revisit the issue” if the port’s future security improved.

He said there was much potential in the port as it was the only one between Townsville and Darwin that could be accessed on a sealed road, and it could operate 365 days of the year.

“There’s a myth it [the port] closes down in the wet season, it’s not the case at all.”

Mr Pascoe said the port could benefit the local industry, especially for smaller mines that could not send ore on the Mount Isa to Townsville railway, as it was heavily used by Glencore and BHP Billiton. The Port of Karumba could avoid the Great Barrier Reef and travel directly to China and India, he said.

The port could also import products such as fertiliser and fuel.

A proposed railway line from Cloncurry to Karumba would be the “game changer” to spark further development of the port, Mr Pascoe said.

He said it would cost a lot of money but it would be feasible, especially considering how much it would develop the region.

“Whether it happens in my lifetime or not it’s going to happen,” the mayor said.

Source: North West Star

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