Govt considers first new coal port in 25 yrs

Australia’s first new coal port in 25 years could be built in central Queensland, to boost the state’s coal exports by 40%.

Premier Anna Bligh said three proposals, for the Bowen, the Galilee and Surat coal basins, could deliver a “quantum leap” for Queensland’s coal industry.

“These projects could see this State fully harness the opportunities the resources boom can offer by delivering a 40% increase in our coal exporting capacity,” she said.

The first and largest of the three projects under consideration by the State Government is the $5.3 billion Galilee Coal proposal by Waratah Coal.

“This project consists of a new mine near Alpha with the potential to produce 25 million tonnes of thermal coal for export per annum,” Bligh said.

“A new Australian coal port would be built near Shoalwater Bay between Rockhampton and Mackay with a capacity of up to 100 million tonnes of coal per annum.

“A new 500 km rail line, reaching from the Galilee Basin to the new port at Shoalwater Bay, would open this region to coal exports for the first time.”

The Premier said Defence Force land was being targeted for the project so that adjacent Byfield National Park would not be affected.

The second proposal is the Bowen Basin Growth Project comprising two new mines at Daunia and Caval Ridge and an expansion of the existing Gooyella Riverside Mine north of Moranbah.

“This BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance proposal would boost coal exports in the area by about 20 million tonnes,” Bligh said.

“Both of these major coal mining proposals have been declared ‘significant projects’ by the Coordinator-General and will now undergo a rigorous environmental assessment process.”

The Premier said the third proposal, for a 30 Mtpa open cut coal mine near Wandoan by a consortium led by Xstrata Coal, was declared a significant project in December last year.

The Coordinator-General expects to release draft terms of reference for the environmental impact statements for the new proposals by late September.

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