Port Hedland, Western Australia
With a population of around 20,000, Port Hedland is a big regional centre in the northwest. It’s also a place of big business – big companies, big investments, big mines, big projects and big tonnages.
It’s not just a mining town – it has a natural deep anchor port from which much of WA’s iron ore is shipped. It also supports major offshore natural gas fields and the pastoralists who graze cattle in the region.
North of the Tropic of Capricorn and some 1300km north of Perth, Port Hedland is hot. The average summer temperature is 37C and the average winter temperature is 27C. It’s also cyclone territory, at the right time of year (summer).
The local council claims the lifestyle in Port Hedland is “relaxed and open” – partly thanks to the town’s location. Ideal for aquatic pastimes like fishing, whale watching, turtle watching, diving and swimming, it’s also close to the incredibly beautiful national parks at Millstream and Karijini.
The town (and its sister town of South Hedland) has all the services you would expect to find in a major centre – cultural and recreation facilities, shopping centres, all the major banks, Government facilities including a courthouse, museums, and tourist services and facilities.
The major employers in the town are BHP Billiton’s iron ore processing and shipping facility exporting 70 million tonnes of iron ore a year (and its associated enterprises) and Dampier Salt, which produces three million tonnes of industrial salt annually. There are also manganese, copper and tantalum mines nearby.
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