Seafarms' Project Sea Dragon has started construction at the Bynoe Harbour Core Breeding Centre with earthworks and bitumen being laid for access roads, along with outlet ponds and fencing.
A total of $200 million worth of contracts are anticipated to be released by Seafarms for Territory businesses to tender for this year, through the NT's Industry Capability Network project gateway.
Project Sea Dragon is a $1.45 billion prawn aquaculture project which will ultimately see the development of up to 10,000 hectares of ponds for black tiger prawn production facilities.
It is the largest of its kind in Australia.
Seafarms still needs financial backers for the project with early works at the Legune Grow Out Facility complete.
In the last year, Seafarms has invested $5.6 million in to the Territory.
Works at Bynoe Point, totalling $1.4 million, have been awarded to 100 per cent owned and operated Territory businesses.
Seafarms opened its Darwin CBD office last year.
At full scale, the project has the potential to create around 1500 ongoing jobs, of which around 1000 will be located in the NT (700 at Legune Station and 300 at a Darwin-based hatchery and breeding facilities, along with the main office in Darwin).
The Government has invested over $56 million in roads which will help support this massive job creating project, such as:
- $32.2 million to upgrade Gunn Point Road to a two lane sealed standard to the entrance of the project site at Gunn Point.
- $7 million to provide an access road to the Point Ceylon, Bynoe Harbour site.
- $17.5 million to upgrade the Keep River Plains Road to ensure year round access between Kununurra and Legune Station.
In December 2019 the Indigenous Land Use Agreement for the Legune Grow Out Facility was registered by the National Native Title Tribunal, with Native Title Holders having used some of these funds to upgrade the Marralum Outstation.
Stage 1 of the Project Sea Dragon Facility is to consist of 1180 hectares of landbased production ponds and 324 hectares of internal recycling ponds at Legune Station, 110 kilometres north east of Kununurra.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said: "Project Sea Dragon is exactly the kind of major project the NT needs. It will create up to 1500 permanent jobs, and diversify the Territory's economy by delivering a new industry for Australia.
"We are already seeing Territory businesses getting their share of the project with companies like Allan King & Sons Construction, Wallbridge Gillbert Aztec and Larrakia Development Corporation already on site.
"$200 million worth of Project Sea Dragon contracts are going to hit the NT market this year.
"It is an exciting time in the Territory with engineering consultancy work underway on the Ship Lift followed by construction tenders later this year; we will also have three major gas projects making final investment decisions in late 2020 early 2021."
Primary Industry and Resources Minister Paul Kirby said: "This project will create 1500 ongoing local jobs, as well as providing a new industry for the Territory and Australia."
Seafarms managing director, Chris Mitchell said Seafarms' task was to obtain finance for the first project step and start construction this year.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday at 6am from the Katherine Times. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up here.