Coal port prepares to double capacity

HAY Point Coal Terminal is set to almost double its capacity in a proposed expansion, which is expected to be staged over seven years.

A spokesperson for BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) yesterday said the proposed expansion would increase the terminal’s capacity from 44 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) to 75Mtpa.

The full scope and timeframes for the planned expansion were not yet finalised, and the proposal was currently awaiting environmental approvals from the relevant Commonwealth and State government authorities, she said.

If the proposal is approved and BMA decides to proceed with it as is, the terminal’s capacity will increase from 44Mtpa to 55Mtpa in stage two and grow to 75Mtpa in stage three. About 275,000 sq m of material will be dredged in the proposed first stage.

The expansion formed part of BMA’s future growth plans and would increase the company’s range of infrastructure positions in Queensland, the spokeswoman said.

If the project went ahead, it would create a “significant number” of jobs during the construction phase.

“The initial expansion would involve replacing the existing trestle conveyors, replacing surge bins, introducing overland conveyors to transfer coal from the stockpiles to the jetty and constructing an additional berth and ship loader,” the spokeswoman said.

As the terminal’s infrastructure lies on land and offshore, the proposed expansion was originally subject to Mackay Regional Council (MRC) approval processes as well as those imposed by the State Government.

However, to ease the process for BMA, Queensland’s Infrastructure and Planning Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe recently determined that the Department of Environment and Resource Management would be the assessment manager for the application.

Hay Point Coal Terminal was constructed and commissioned between 1969 and 1971.

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