Pollies unsure of $12bn port plans

Both sides of politics have expressed doubt over the viability of building a new $12 billion coal port south of Mackay, which is also opposed by environmentalists.

The Daily Mercury reports state Labor Member for Mackay Tim Mulherin said the Dudgeon Point Coal Terminal was reliant on unstable commodity prices.


“It's uncertain times… the coal producer needs to have customers,” he said.


Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen and LNP candidate for Capricornia Michelle Landry have also raised concerns about the project, but the development's proponent remains confident.


North Queensland Bulk Ports expects an environmental impact statement for the project by the end of the year, and has forecast construction to start sometime in 2014.


NQBP chief Brad Fish told the Daily Mercury while coal prices were currently at a low point, the market was expected to bounce back and new infrastructure needed to be in place to support the recovery.


“If the demand were to pick up in five years time you need to get that project proceeding now,” he said.


Along with NQBT most QLD coal miners have forecast demand to improve in the short to medium term, but companies have also moved to sell off assets throughout the state's industry as costs rise and profit margins tighten.


Most recently Rio Tinto announced plans to sell several of its coal assets, including its interests in the Clermont and Blair Athol mines.

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