Gladstone coal port terminal upgrade gets green light

By: Jason Whittaker

Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) has been given the final tick of approval from the Federal Government to proceed with the

Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) has been given the final tick of approval from the Federal Government to proceed with the development of one of Australia's largest coal port terminals.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh calls it an important milestone in the process to enable the State to develop a world leading coal port critical to the future of the coal industry.

Federal Minister Peter Garrett signed off on the environmental impact study (EIS) after the Corporation satisfied all of the Government's requirements. It follows Queensland Government approval of the EIS earlier this year.

The approval allows GPC to move to full feasibility and detailed engineering for the terminal to meet its target to start operations in 2012-13.

"When completed, Wiggins Island Coal Terminal will incorporate the most technologically advanced design capability for a coal blending facility to mitigate both dust generation and emissions into the environment," she says.

"This is an extremely economically viable project with Corporation having expressions of interest from 16 resource companies to take up capacity at the terminal.

"The economic multiplier is important for both the region and the State as it will generate further development in support services and infrastructure for Gladstone.

"It is estimated that another 500 jobs will be created in the building stage with 130 jobs at the terminal when fully operational."

Deputy Premier and Infrastructure Minister Paul Lucas says on completion, the terminal will have capacity to handle 75 million tonnes a year.

In addition, and as part of the design, it can be connected to the existing RG Tanna Coal Terminal thus adding another 15 million tonne throughput for Gladstone.

This will mean that on completion Gladstone's total capacity will be more than 162 million tonnes.

Wiggins island will be built in stages. The first, valued at about $1.3 billion, is expected to be completed by 2012. It has the potential to boost Gladstone's coal exports by up to a third, or 25 million tonnes, and generate up to $1.8 billion in annual export earnings.

Associated with this, there will be a $500 million rail upgrade - the Moura Link-Aldoga Rail Project - to transport coal to the new Wiggins Island Coal Terminal.

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