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Arrium to open Whyalla port to outsiders

Steel and mining group Arrium is working with the South Australian government to find ways to expand its wholly-owned Whyalla port and to throw open the facilities to outside users.

The pair hope to reach an agreement covering third-party applications for use of the Eyre Peninsula port and revise regulatory agreements to support new industries and infrastructure in the region.

The move follows a report by the state's resource infrastructure taskforce which recommends opening up Whyalla and proposes two other ports - at Cape Hardy and Myponie Point - to service potential future mining exports.

"We have excess capacity at the moment. We are looking at details around third-party access and, in the longer term, for opportunities to expand the port," an Arrium spokesman told AAP on Tuesday.

The South Australia-based company operates steelworks and mining operations near Whyalla.

It completed a $200 million expansion of the port in 2012, doubling capacity to 13 million tonnes. The port can be further expanded.

However, the mining group's fortunes have been hit hard this year by the plunge in iron ore prices. It posted a full year loss of $1.9 billion in August.

Earlier this year, the struggling company halved its mining operations in SA and axed almost 600 jobs. It also mothballed its Outer Harbour operations at the Whyalla port, costing a number of contractor jobs.

It currently uses only around nine million tonnes of capacity.

An agreement with the state government could improve certainty for the company in the region, and also open up a revenue stream.

The discussion would include arrangements and financial charges for third-party access to the ports facilities, the Arrium spokesman said.