Two former Port Hedland mayoral candidates have urged the council to take a strong stance against an airstrip and workers’ camp proposed for a large goldmine on the outskirts of town. De Grey’s $900 million Mallina gold project, 70km south of Port Hedland, has been trumpeted as a future top-five goldmine in Australia. A pre-feasibility study released last month revealed the operation would produce about 473,000 ounces per annum in its first five years, and an average of 427,000oz over 10 years. The company requested approval from the Town of Port Hedland for a workforce accommodation suitable for 900 people during the construction phase and a Civil Aviation Safety Authority-compliant airstrip suitable for 112-person planes. Mayor Peter Carter said the council was concerned about the airstrip, but the town would not be able to accommodate the amount of staff required on the project in houses. A ToPH officer’s report presented at last week’s council meeting said the local government objected to the proposal on September 14 and recommended that the council maintain the objection. The council was recommended to authorise the chief executive to remove the objection to the licence if an agreement could be reached about the removal of the workers’ accommodation and airstrip. Cr Carter proposed to defer the item until November 24 to give councillors time to consider deputations and information from De Grey Mining. At the council meeting, former mayor Camilo Blanco said supporting the camp would be the “most detrimental position” a council could take against the town. “Especially not supporting them in our boundary,” he said. “That’s exactly what you did when you approved the new West End planning scheme. “Now you have an item coming up, De Grey Mining wanting to build a workforce accommodation and airstrip. “It is going to be a hard sell to try and stop them doing that when we are allowing FIFO camps to be built in the heart of Port Hedland.” This year’s mayoral candidate Gloria Jacob said potential benefits from a goldmine would be lost if De Grey’s camp was backed by the council. “This project is considered one of the top five gold mines in Australia,” she said. “What I’m asking council to do is consider the magnitude of the project and the magnitude of the impact it could have on the town. “To lobby State Government to support any resolution made in opposition to the aerodrome and workforce being located 60km out of town is a no-brainer.” Cr Carter said safety and security were the main reasons De Grey Mining had given for wanting an aerodrome. “Having another aerodrome down the road ... I don’t think council are very pleased at possibly having another aerodrome,” he said. “For us to build 600 houses in town, it’s not going to happen — it will take years — camps are the way moving forward. No one likes camps but we need to try and help where we can — that’s all.” Cr Carter said everyone wanted a local workforce but the town did not have the infrastructure to support it. He said the project was an opportunity for the town to diversify its economy away from iron ore.