Appointment in preparation for exports

Westland Mineral Sands director Ray Mudgway at the new mine site at Cape Foulwind earlier this...
Westland Mineral Sands director Ray Mudgway at the new mine site at Cape Foulwind earlier this year. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Westland Mineral Sands, which has a mine at Cape Foulwind and another proposed near Hokitika, has employed a Greymouth port manager as it prepares for bulk exports by barge.

The proposed Mananui mine will create up to 70 jobs. Both mines are on private land.

Westland Mineral Sands (WMS) proposes barging heavy mineral product from Greymouth and Westport, then transferring it to ocean-going vessels.

A large barge has been bought and is being fitted out in Asia, and is due in New Zealand waters later this year.

It could mark a turnaround for the Greymouth port, which has been in decline since the 1950s, apart from limited coal barging in the 1990s. West Coast coal is now railed to the Port of Lyttelton.

WMS Group managing director Ray Mudgway said yesterday WMS would re-establish Greymouth for bulk shipping.

WMS has appointed Russell Smith as its Greymouth port manager. He started work last Monday and will focus on clearing the site before starting groundwork for the development.

Mr Mudgway said WMS had been checking bar conditions and doing daily sounds, and things were looking good.

The export plans do not just include mineral sands. WMS was also looking at aggregate and decorative rock, and speaking to other West Coast businesses about opportunities to use the barge.

"It’s exactly what we want for the Coast. We’re quite excited."

Greymouth Mayor Tania Gibson met the new port manager last week.

"We are really excited about it. We are keeping in close contact about how we can work with each other."

She remembered the days when the port was busy, and people would rush down and watch the Sea Tow barges.

A report by economics consultancy Sense Partners, commissioned by WMS Group, shows the Mananui operation will generate $71 million in export revenue each year and will boost West Coast GDP by 1.8%, supporting between 65 and 70 well-paying jobs.

A further 65 to 69 jobs in areas such as engineering, geotechnical and maintenance will be supported by the company’s $15.4m of local spending.

The Mananui project is expected to deliver high-value garnet, ilmenite and gold for export. 

— Greymouth Star