Poor conditions in the coal industry continue to hamper mining developments as North Queensland Bulk Ports delay their Dudgeon Point Coal Terminal project.
Construction of the $12 billion coal port south of Mackay has been pushed back until 2015.
NQBP general manager of planning for Hay Point, Bob Brunner, said the demand for the two-coal-terminal development wasn’t strong enough given current coal market conditions, Daily Mercury reported.
"Because of the downturn in the coal market, a number of new mine developments in the Mackay region have been recently cancelled or deferred," Brunner said.
The year-long delay means no coal will be exported from the site until at least 2019.
"New port facilities will only be constructed if there is sufficient customer export demand to justify the large expenditure required," Brunner said.
"The industry will determine the timing of the project to meet their needs."
Some staff working on the project had been reshuffled within NQBP, Brunner said.
"NQBP had a small project team of three full-time staff and contractors, supported by a number of internal specialist staff as needed," he said.
"The contractors have left the project and one of the full-time project team members has been reallocated to other duties."
Earlier this year Member for Mackay Tim Mulherin said the project was reliant on unstable commodity prices.
“It's uncertain times… the coal producer needs to have customers,” he said.
News of the delay has reignited calls from environmentalist groups to have the project dumped altogether.
Australian Marine Conservation Society Great Barrier Reef campaign director Felicity Wishart said the development was "unprecedented".
"The North Queensland Bulk Ports plan for Dudgeon Point should not just be delayed for a year, it should be rejected outright by the Queensland Government to protect the Reef and Reef-related tourism," Ms Wishart said.
"Mega-ports will mean more ship movements, which increases the risk of groundings, and more dredging and dumping for shipping channels."
Xstrata Coal had been studying the potential for a new coal export terminal at Balaclava Island over the past three years.
“The decision has been made as a result of the poor current market conditions in the Australian coal industry, excess port capacity in Queensland, specific shipping limitations and concerns about the industry’s medium-term outlook,” the company said in a statement.