Abbot Point is poised to become one of the world’s largest coal ports, with a series of expansions planned to take its export capacity close to 300 Mtpa.
Abbot Point is poised to become one of the world’s largest coal ports, with a series of expansions planned to take its export capacity close to 300 Mtpa. Lee Constable

Developers want $6.2b expansion

ABBOT Point is one step closer to becoming one of the world’s largest coal ports with proponents now being sought for a massive $6.2 billion expansion of the terminal.

Premier Anna Bligh said the search was on for a private company to carry out the upgrade, which would include construction of up to four coal terminals with a combined capacity of 120 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa).

Ms Bligh said the upgrade would enable Abbot Point to become one of the largest coal terminals in the world.

“Combined with other planned expansions, this upgrade would position Abbot Point as one of the world’s largest coal ports with seven coal terminals and a capacity of close to 300 Mtpa,” she said.

“Queensland has the richest coal deposits in the world with the Bowen and Galilee basins and this upgrade will help us meet world demand for our coal.

“These expansions will further cement Queensland as the world’s largest exporter of coal and are critical to the economy and wealth of Queensland.”

Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace said that North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation Limited (NQBP) was seeking proponents interested in developing the additional coal terminal infrastructure at Abbot Point.

“We are advertising an expression of interest both locally and nationally, inviting companies to notify of their interest for the right to develop potentially four more coal terminals at the Port of Abbot Point,” he said.

Each terminal would provide a nominal capacity of 30 Mtpa and be located within the Abbot Point State Development Area, in close proximity to a deep-water port.

If environmental approvals are gained construction could start in 2015, with the first coal exports from Terminal 4 in 2017.

It was only last month that the Daily Mercury watched components of the port’s X50 project being used for the first time to deliver coal through the port’s new ship loader.

But the X50, the largest government-funded port expansion in Queensland, was just one of many expansions planned for Abbot Point.

Plans are already afoot for a multi-cargo facility at the port that will service terminals 2 and 3, owned by BHP and Hancock Coal respectively. It will also service terminals 4 to 7, also planned for the port.

The multi-cargo facility includes 12 cape size shipping berths and 20 million cubic metres will have to be dredged to make way for it.

Ms Bligh said the planned upgrades at Abbot Point would provide a great economic boost to the region, with flow-on jobs expected for Mackay and Townsville.

The Abbot Point terminal has been leased for 99 years to Mundra Ports, under the State Government’s Renewing Queensland plan.

The $1.8 billion proceeds will be directed to Queensland’s natural disaster recovery.


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