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BHP Billiton Iron Ore (BHP Billiton) has submitted a Licence Amendment Application to the former Department of Environment Regulation (DER) for licence L4513/1969/18, in relation to its Port Hedland Port Operations.

The application seeks to increase the Category 58 – bulking material loading or unloading production capacity from 270 to 290 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa). BHP Billiton states the proposed increase in capacity would be from the increased availability and utilisation of existing infrastructure, as well as some minor upgrades.

 As part of this application, a number of supporting documents were also submitted to the DER:

BHP Billiton's licence for its Port Hedland Port Operations was issued by DER under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act). BHP Billiton also holds Ministerial Statements 433 and 740 issued under Part IV of the EP Act for dust management at Finucane Island and Nelson Point, Port Hedland.

What is Happening Now?

On 11 May 2017, DER decided to defer determination of the Licence Amendment Application pending the outcomes of an inquiry by the former Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to address regulatory duplication between Part V and Part IV of the EP Act.

Following the amalgamation of the Department of Water, DER and EPA to form the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) on 1 July 2017, DWER has decided to assess the Licence Amendment Application and regulatory duplication inquiry in parallel.  As part of this assessment, DWER will consider all submissions received during the public comment period which ran from 17 October to 16 November.  Consideration will also be given to submissions on BHP Billiton's 10 March 2017 application to increase the Category 58 to capacity from 270 Mtpa to 275 Mtpa.

The submission period is now closed.