BHP has marked a new milestone in their coal sector expansion as BMA opened the new third berth at the Hay Point coal export terminal yesterday.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk attended the official opening ceremony with BHP coal president Mike Henry and Mitsubishi Corporation COO for the mineral resources investment division Rick Tanaka.
The premier said coal exports had reached a record 219 million tonnes last financial year thanks to such investments.
“I want to thank BHP Billiton and Mitsubishi for their confidence in the Queensland coal export market and their contribution to the Queensland economy, despite coal prices having declined markedly in recent years,” she said.
Hay Point has been in operation since 1971, and the $US3 billion third berth and ship loader has been under construction since 2011.
At peak construction in 2014 the project employed 1630 people, with more than 12.6 million hours worked.
The new infrastructure has increased the Hay Point Coal Terminal capacity from 44 million to 55 million tonnes per annum.
Mike Henry said the recently completed terminal project reflected BHP Billiton’s confidence in the long-term outlook for metallurgical coal.
“BMA is the world’s largest exporter of seaborne metallurgical coal and employs 9,000 Queenslanders. The opening of the HPX3 project is a significant milestone,” he said.
“Importantly, the increased capacity at HPX3 will enhance our ability to run an even more productive value chain.
“Through its design features, the project has also improved the Port’s ability to withstand significant weather events, improving the resilience of the BMA business and enhancing customer confidence in the reliability of supply from BMA and Queensland.”