Tom Price prepares for world-class hub on its doorstep
Dec 09 2010
The Shire of Ashburton is set to reap the benefits of the ongoing resources boom with Fortescue Metals Group Ltd outlining plans for construction to start next year on the Solomon Hub iron ore mine just 80 kilometres from Tom Price.
The first stage of the Solomon Hub will employ approximately 1,500 people during construction and an operations workforce of more than 1,500 when the 60 million tonne per annum (Mtpa) mine starts exporting iron ore in 2013.
Shire of Ashburton President Greg Musgrave said when the size and magnitude of the project is measured from both an operational and structural sense, the business opportunities are significant.
“It’s one of those challenges which will be very rewarding, Tom Price hasn’t changed in over 40 years, so the Shire is taking great steps to enhance the town with various funding initiatives including the Royalties for Regions Regional Grant Scheme to develop infrastructure for retail and commercial use,” Cr Musgrave said.
Fortescue is investing more than $2.3 billion dollars at the Solomon Hub and will also spend more than $4.6 billion on expanding its existing port and rail facilities and constructing a new 130km rail line to link the Solomon Hub to its existing supply chain.
The Shire of Ashburton is preparing for the resulting business and residential growth in Tom Price with the auction of six industrial blocks and 13 residential lots in February 2011. Together with a further 24 residential lots due to go under the hammer in March, modernisation plans for the Tom Price Shopping Mall and construction of a new sports pavilion, Cr Musgrave said the Shire was well equipped to handle the future.
“Expansion of mining projects in the Shire is forecast to be $80b over the next few years. With our planned revitalisation in Tom Price this will result in a modern community hub with new shopping facilities, sporting and housing and land opportunities for private investors, commercial enterprises and homeowners.”
Fortescue plans to open a community office in Tom Price and will be working collaboratively with the Shire of Ashburton to find sufficient housing for its requirements.
Earlier this week, an information day was jointly hosted by the Shire of Ashburton and Fortescue to update contractors and suppliers on land availability for those who wish to establish or grow their businesses in Tom Price and support Fortescue’s Solomon mine and future Central Pilbara Hub.
The information day included an overview of Fortescue’s plans for the Solomon Hub, an overview of land availability and housing from the Shire of Ashburton together with a tour of Tom Price facilities and amenities.
Cr Musgrave said he was pleased by the number of people that expressed a desire to build or buy land.
“All indications would suggest in the foreseeable future Tom Price will truly be a service hub both for the resource sector and tourism industry.”
SHIRE OF ASHBURTON
Shire of Ashburton President Greg Musgrave 0417 080 037.
FORTESCUE METALS GROUP
Cameron Morse - 0433 886 871.