The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has granted interim authorisation for coal miners to collectively negotiate with Dudgeon Point terminal management.
Carabella Resources, Macarthur Coal, Middlemount Coal, New Hope, and Peabody are all seeking port capacity to export from the terminal.
This authorisation allows the miners to begin negotiations with the port while the ACCC assesses their applications.
However, it does not allow them to enter into any contracts or agreements.
The ACCC added that "the granting of interim authorisation in no way binds the ACCC in its consideration of the substantive application for authorisation.
It "provides immunity from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment".
Dudgeon Point will be built near the existing Hay Point and Dalrymple Bay coal ports.
The Greens have recently raised fears over the development of the coal terminals in the area, senator Larissa Waters stating that "the community is saying their homes are being blanketed with coal dust and they need to keep their windows shut through the whole of summer.
"The noise of the trains, conveyor belts and helicopters is quite unbearable, I am told, and they’re already doing an awful lot of dredging."
A draft decision on the miners’ applications will be released in December.