Esperance Port receives nickel export approvals

Photo: Esperance Express.
Photo: Esperance Express.

After more than five years of preparations, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation has issued formal approval for Southern Ports Authority to export nickel from Esperance.

The approval, which was issued in July, comes after the port undertook an extensive planning process to prove that it could effectively manage the loading of nickel.

Southern Ports Esperance environment manager Alex Leonard welcomed the approval and said it was the result of three years of extensive data gathering.

"Achieving approval is a welcome development and has resulted from three years of extensive data gathering of levels of respirable nickel, which was measured on the boundary of the port and the town," he said.

"Southern Ports has worked in close partnership with IGO and Qube to achieve this outcome and ensure this trade was approved.

"We will continue to maintain strict loading controls to ensure the community and the environment are fully protected and the region continues to enjoy the benefits of this trade."

The company's license now allows for the export of up to 1.1 million tonnes of nickel sulphide and copper sulphide annually, which is subject to strict loading controls and containment systems.

It is understood the port started a license amendment submission in May last year to allow for the export, before engaging in a public consultation process.