The Australian Southern Ports Authority announce that it has struck two major deals for iron ore and spodumene exports from the Port of Esperance.

The two agreements for the Port of Esperance exports are a three-year contract to export iron ore with mining services giant Mineral Resources Limited (MRL), and a five-year contract (with an optional five-year extension) with MRL’s subsidiary, Process Minerals International, to export the growing commodity of spodumene from its hard rock lithium mines at Mt Marion.

These deals also open the Port’s iron ore infrastructure to junior exporters, like paving the way for Juno Minerals to sign a non-binding MOU with Southern Ports to support potential future iron ore trade, the Southern Ports Authority states.

The port informs that iron ore is the Port of Esperance’s primary export commodity, with more than 7.6 million tonnes exported in fiscal year 2023 and almost 37 million tonnes since 2018. Furthermore, it is mentioned that spodumene (lithium) exports through Esperance Port have increased by almost 350 per cent in the same period, reaching more than 900,000 tonnes over the past year.

Keith Wilks, CEO of Southern Ports, says that “This is a welcome outcome for Southern Ports and the Esperance community,” and adds that “Iron ore trade underpins regional prosperity in Esperance. These new deals will create more regional jobs and inject millions of dollars into the State’s economy. Not only will the deals extend MRL iron ore exports through to 2026, but also create the potential for new iron ore trade with junior exporters as the Port of Esperance transitions to future export commodities. With some of the richest deposits of critical minerals in the country, it’s also pleasing that we are able to position the region for trade growth in spodumene to support the global transition to clean energy.”