You may have noticed how busy Karratha is becoming again - car parks full, lines of traffic on our major roads - there are more people in town and there is a sense of positivity in the air.
The reason for this is the many new project proposals which will impact our towns. These cover a wide range of industries: oil and gas; iron ore; salt; gold; downstream processing and renewable energy.
Council has counted some $65 billion dollars of proposed major developments - and this excludes new buildings and infrastructure in Karratha itself.
Woodside has been very active lately as they plan to add a second LNG processing train at Pluto to process gas from the Scarborough field. This is a $15b investment, which is tipped to create more than 2400 construction jobs and 200 operational jobs.
Woodside also plan to invest $28.7m to transport gas from the Browse Basin to existing North West Shelf infrastructure for processing at the Karratha Gas Plant.
Rio Tinto’s $2.15b Robe Valley and West Angeles iron ore mines are expected to create 1200 construction jobs and 400 operational jobs. The company will also invest $2.5b to develop its Koodaideri iron ore mine, which is anticipated to create 2000 construction and 600 operational jobs.
Santos is planning development of the Corvus field, which we expect will deliver gas to the Devils Creek plant at 40-mile Beach and the Dorado and associated oil and gas finds will not doubt further extend our region’s dominance in that industry.
Perdaman Fertiliser’s $4.6 billion proposed urea plant on the Burrup Peninsula is expected to create 2000 jobs during construction and 150 operational jobs, all housed here in Karratha.
Also on the Burrup, Wesfarmers, Coogee Chemicals and Mitsubishi are proposing a $1.4 billion methanol plant, which is expected to create 500 jobs during construction and 150 during operation.
Leichhardt Industrials’ $230m Eramurra solar salt project between Forty Mile and Cape Preston is now in the bankable feasibility stage and BCI Minerals is planning its $335m Mardie Salt and Potash project.
Anketell’s proposed $4.5 billion deep water port and supply chain could create 900 jobs during construction and 300 during operations and Balla Balla Infrastructure Group’s (BBI) proposed $6 billion integrated port and rail infrastructure project is expected to employ 3300 workers during construction and create more than 900 permanent jobs.
EcoMag’s $85m magnesium processing plant in Karratha could produce approximately 80,000 tonnes of high value magnesium per year, while WRS Bioproducts plan to establish a $40m manufacturing facility to produce algae and other products using waste bitterns.
FMG, Yara, Woodside and Asian Renewable Energy Hub are all working on hydrogen production using solar energy and electrolysis of water for their own use and for export as the liquified gas itself, ammonia or as DC current via undersea cable.
These are just some of the key projects on the horizon and while we cannot be sure how many will progress to completion, they represent an exciting future for the City of Karratha, the State of Western Australia and our nation.