North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) yesterday named BHP Billiton and Hancock Coal as the preferred developers of the two new coal terminals slated for Abbot Point.
The two new terminals will be single-user facilities with the initial capacity to export 30 million tonnes per annum each.
They will be built next to the existing Queensland Government-owned terminal, which is currently being upgraded to export 50 million tonnes per annum as part of the $1.1 billion Goonyella to Abbot Point (GAP) Expansion project.
Together, the three terminals will give the port an export capacity of 110 million tonnes per annum.
“Both BHP and Hancock have expressed interest in working with NQBP to increase the capacity of their terminals to 50 million tonnes per annum and 60 million tonnes per annum respectively,” NQBP chairman Leonie Taylor said.
“This, of course, would be subject to investigations and approvals.
“The Port of Abbot Point is situated next to the State Development Area, so it offers enormous potential for industry growth and is a strategic port positioned to respond to industry demand.
“NQBP will now negotiate detailed framework agreements, which will underpin the planning and development of the terminals.
“These two projects have the potential to deliver a massive economic injection to central and northern Queensland.”
The State Government is planning to offer a 99-year lease agreement for the existing terminal later this year.
The BHP coal terminal will be fed by Queensland Rail’s Newlands coal rail system, while the Hancock facility will use a purpose-built rail line from the Galilee Coal Basin.
“There will be significant upfront capital investment to build the terminals and associated rail infrastructure, increased mining royalties for the State and both direct and indirect job creation from mine to port,” Taylor said.
Aurecon Hatch is conducting a study to identify the best site within the Abbot Point State Development Area, which will be completed by August 2010.