Port Hedland is the highest tonnage port in Australia and largest town in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, with a population of approximately 14,000, including the satellite town of South Hedland, 18 km away.
Port Hedland is a natural deep anchorage port which, as well as being the main fuel and container receival point for the region, was seen as perfect for shipment of the iron ore being mined in the ranges located inland from the town. The ore is moved by railway lines from four major iron ore deposits to the east and south of Port Hedland area. In August 2010 the port exported 13.6 million tonnes of iron ore. Other major resource activities supported include the offshore natural gas fields, salt, manganese, and livestock. Grazing of cattle and sheep was formerly a major revenue earner for the region but this has slowly declined. Port Hedland was formerly the terminus for the WAGR Marble Bar Railway which serviced the gold mining area of Marble Bar