PLANS to make Abbot Point Australia's biggest coal terminal are afoot and it's hoped the Federal Government will further advance them today with a $500million boost.
North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) and the Ports Corporation of Queensland (PCQ) are waiting to discover whether the Federal Government will include $500million in its budget to kick-start the construction of a multi-cargo facility at the port.
NQBP deputy chief executive officer Jeff Stewart-Harris said once the multi-cargo facility was fully developed, Abbot Point's coal capacity was expected to exceed capacities at Hay Point and Newcastle.
The multi-cargo facility includes 12 cape size shipping berths and a whopping 20million cubic metres will have to be dredged to make way for it.
Eight kilometres of rock wall will be built and material from the dredging will be used to fill land behind the sea wall.
A number of environmental safeguards have been put in place to minimise impacts on surrounding wetlands.
The project will cost about $2.3billion.
Mr Stewart-Harris said about $1billion would be spent for the first stage, which would get the multi-cargo facility off the ground.
The multi-cargo facility will service terminals 2 and 3 at the port, owned by BHP and Hancock Coal respectively. It will also service terminals 4 to 7, also planned for the port.
Mr Stewart-Harris said expansions at Hay Point and Newcastle were expected to raise those terminals' capacities to 300mtpa, but Abbot Point, once fully developed, would have a capacity near 350mtpa.
The port's capacity is now 50mtpa, after the components of its X50 project were used for the first time yesterday.
Whitsunday Mayor Mike Brunker said the first ship loading from the new second berth was a significant milestone.
“We've been operating with one berth for a while and with the new capacity it's the start of a new era,” he said yesterday.
“It's all positive. We are hoping in the budget there's $500million from Infrastructure Australia (funding) for a multi-cargo facility.” Cr Brunker said he would be glued to the television screen tonight to discover if that wish had been granted.
Construction of the first coal export terminal at Abbot Point Queensland began in 1981 under the direction of the Harbours Corporation of Queensland
Known as ‘Job 8123’ its design featured a coal handling conveyer and loading structure 2.8km into the sea
The terminal was built within two years and commenced operation in 1984 with the initial capacity of 15 mtpa and remained at this level for almost 25 years
In 2006 Ports Corp- oration of Queensland (PCQ) responded to international demand for Queensland coal and started expanding Abbot Point
Further market demand required PCQ to take on additional stages of expansion to increase capacity to 50 mtpa by 2011
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