BHP Billiton officials have approved $301 million in capital through shares to replace two shiploaders to streamline operations at their Nelson Point inner harbor in Port Hedland, Western Australia.

Each shiploader will have a loading capacity of 12,500 metric tons per hour (mt/h), according to BHP company officials; existing shiploaders SL1 and SL2, both more than 40 years old, currently load iron ore at at about 10,000 mt/h.

This investment will allow debottlenecking capacity for BHP’s Western Australia iron ore supply chain toward 270 million mt/y, at a low capital cost. Commissioning the replacement shiploaders is scheduled by Q3 2014.

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