Kimberley Mineral Sands has come to an agreement with the Shire of Derby-West Kimberley to export product from it’s Thunderbird Mine out of Derby. The project, which is tipped to create 350 local jobs over the 36-year life of the mine, had originally planned to export out of the port of Derby but pivoted to strike a deal with neighbouring Broome after a company merger in late-2021. The move saw Shire of Derby-West Kimberley President Geoff Haerewa in January warn the company it could be slapped with a $10 million bill for the change under current contracts. Now, the dust looks to have settled on the dispute, with KMS signing an agreement to use Derby Port infrastructure into the mid 2040’s. Cr Haerewa said the agreement meant locals could look forward to the prosperous future of the project, which he said would have a “significant”impact on the town. “The benefits that the community will get from KMS’s commercial operation at the port will be the ability to offset current monies that we’re now using to maintain and operate the port,” he said. “The other one is jobs and hopefully, this drive in-drive out model that they’re trying to put in place will get as many Indigenous jobs here as possible.” Cr Haerewa said while the agreement did not dictate that KMS had to export out of Derby, it did mean that if the export point moved, SDWK would still get paid. “Ultimately, we still can’t force KMS to come through Derby, but it is a much easier pathway for them to come through,” he said. “However, the council would still receive some payments for the next 10 to 15 years, very similar to a royalty payment, if they transported the goods out of Broome or out of another port. “So, it’s a win-win situation for us.” The agreement comes after KMS parent company, Sheffield Resources, secured a $US110 million project financing agreement with Orion Resource Partners on August 18 to complete construction of the mine. Sheffield Resources executive chair Bruce Griffin said construction activities at Thunderbird are advancing rapidly and the project remains on track for first production in early 2024. “We welcome the support from the Shire of Derby-West Kimberley in establishing this agreement with Kimberley Mineral Sands, which enables the export of products from Thunderbird via Derby,” he said. The project will target 40 per cent Aboriginal employment in the first eight years of operations, with a minimum $5m a year towards Aboriginal business content from year five.