A milestone contract has been secured for SIMEC Mining's Whyalla Port, signalling a new era of third-party use at the site.
The facility has been selected as the preferred site to ship copper concentrate for OZ Minerals' $1.3 billion Carrapateena mine following a competitive tender process.
The three-year contract is the first major deal secured by SIMEC Mining, an arm of British Billionaire Sanjeev Gupta's GFG Alliance operations.
Containers of copper concentrate will be trucked from the mine, located 165 kilometres north of Port Augusta, to the Whyalla Port for consolidation.
The copper will be shipped out in 5-10kt cargoes, with annual shipments gradually increased in conjunction with the rampup of the mine.
SIMEC Mining Executive Managing Director Matt Reed said strict environmental controls were in place, including sprays to manage dust, with necessary approvals secured from the state government and EPA.
"We've stated for some time that our port is open business, and the last few years have demonstrated that through the number and variety of trials we've undertaken," Mr Reed said.
"To take that to the next level and secure an ongoing contract is testament to our increased capability; and an exciting step in the evolution of the Whyalla Port."
While initially a three-year contract, Mr Reed is hopeful it can be extended to reflect the overall life of the mine.
"This contract justifies our investment in the port - particularly the installation of our state-of-the-art mobile harbour crane - as this wouldn't have been possible with our old facilities," he said.
"We will be able to transport this material safely, efficiently and with a high standard of environmental care; and expect our performance to lead to further long-term contracts in the near future."
OZ Minerals' Chief Financial Officer Warrick Ranson said his company was impressed by the capability SIMEC had developed in recent years.
"We were really excited to hear that SIMEC had opened its port to third parties, and it has made a significant difference for us in reducing transport times," he said.