Plans are moving forward which could transform Abbot Point in
Australia into one of the world’s largest coal export ports.
Gary Campbell, General Manager for port development at
Abbot Point which is owned by North Queensland Bulk Ports
Corporation, told DCI environmental impact approvals for the
proposed construction of a new Multi Cargo Facility (MCF) were
now expected by the end of the year.
“The MCF will cost around A$2bn and provide 12 berths and
house a tug facility. Its timing depends on customer
commitments,” he said.
At present the port has one facility — Abbot Point Coal
Terminal. APCT uses an offshore berth 3 kilometres out to sea
linked to land by a jetty. At present it handles some 21mt
(million tonnes) per annum of coal, mainly for Xstrata.
From next April, once stackers-reclaimers have been delivered
and commissioned, capacity will rise to 50mt as part of a $980m
investment. “It’s on time and budget and the offshore wharf is
almost completed,” said Campbell.
To service the newly created Abbot Point State Development
Area a protected harbour with marine support needs to be
constructed to be able to handle general cargo imports and
exports and other cargoes, but with coal the primary target
Located 25km from the nearest urban centre at Bowen and
with 5,000 hectares of adjacent land already identified as suitable
for future industrial development in a state where port and
logistics infrastructure is under pressure, the $2bn MCF project
will provide unlimited additional Capesize-suitable coal loading
capacity to the port, as well as capacity for other trades, including
New mining projects in Queensland and the North West
would funnel cargoes through the new berths and Campbell also
sees potential for refining and LNG facilities.
Native Title clearance processes are now underway for MCF
while concept planning, ship simulation and environmental
baseline work have been completed.
Once the green light has been received for the project, some
35m cbm of material will be dredged and used to build 370
hectares of reclaimed land complete with harbour and a new
transport corridor into the port.
Much depends on securing customer commitments and some
form of underwriting, said Campbell. BHP Billiton has been
awarded preferred developer status for a new 50mtpa (million
tonnes per annum)-capacity terminal, while Hancock Coal is the
preferred bidder to a new 60mtpa terminal, which NQBP hopes
will utilize the MCF rather than construction of additional
offshore jetties and wharves.
Hancock Coal plans to build and operate a 400km rail link
from the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland.
Campbell said other miners could increase coal handling at
the port taking total capacity once the full MCF project is
operational to over 230 million tonnes.
“The staged construction of MCF would mean it could be as
small or as large as the market demands, with up to 4.6km of
quay line,” he added.