Multimodal — coal and minerals infrastructure
The Department of Transport and Main Roads plays an important role in the expansion of the state's natural resource industries, including our leading export — coal.
The transportation of coal is achieved through a multimodal network of roads, railways and ports. The department is working together with government owned rail and port corporations, and liaising with industry bodies and transport providers to ensure this network, and future transport planning and policies, meet the growing demands of the coal industry.
There are currently 46 operating coal mines in Queensland, with two new coal mines under construction and another 18 advance coal export projects being developed.
Coal transport infrastructure is provided on a fully commercial basis, with contracts between miners and transport service providers. The department is expanding and developing this infrastructure to sustain and grow Queensland's major export industry.
Coal is transported by QR Limited and Pacific National from the mines via the Newlands, Goonyella, Blackwater, Moura and West Moreton rail systems to the four coal exporting ports in Queensland at Abbot Point, Hay Point, Gladstone, and Brisbane, and to power stations at Stanwell, Gladstone, and Swanbank, as well as various industrial users. Since 2005, QR Limited has invested over $3.6 billion to expand coal rail and rollingstock capacity.
Port of Abbot Point
The Port of Abbot Point is located approximately 25 kilometres north of Bowen, and comprises the Abbot Point Coal Terminal. In 2007/08, the terminal exported 12.5 million tonnes of metallurgical and thermal coal. Ports Corporation of Queensland Limited is currently completing a staged expansion to 25 million tonnes per annum to the value of $95 million. Final capacity expansion to 50 million tonnes is expected to be completed by June 2011 at a cost of $818 million. Possible future expansions to 110 million tonnes are also being considered. The terminal is owned by the Ports Corporation of Queensland Limited and operated by Abbot Point Bulk Coal Pty Ltd, an Xstrata subsidiary.
Port of Hay Point
The Port of Hay Point is located approximately 30km south of Mackay and comprises two terminals. The Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal was originally developed by the Queensland Government as a common user coal terminal for mines in the Goonyella region in the early 1980s. Today, the terminal is leased to Babcock & Brown Infrastructure Limited, and operated by a separate company controlled by the users. In 2007/08, the terminal exported 43.3 million tonnes of metallurgical and thermal coal from the Bowen Basin. Phase two of the Stage 7X expansion to 72 million tonnes was completed in December 2008. Phase three of the project is expected to be completed by June 2009 bringing the total capacity to 85 million tonnes, costing $1.2 billion.
The adjoining Hay Point Services Terminal was originally owned and operated exclusively by Utah Development Company. Today, the terminal is owned and managed by BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance. In 2007/08, the terminal exported 37.1 million tonnes of metallurgical and thermal coal from the Bowen Basin.
The total combined capacities of both terminals will be 129 million tonnes a year once current expansions are completed.
Port of Gladstone
The Port of Gladstone currently has two coal terminals (RG Tanna and Barney Point) and six additional wharf centres comprising 14 berths. The RG Tanna Coal Terminal is owned and managed by the Gladstone Ports Corporation Limited. In 2007/08, both terminals exported a combined 54.1 million tonnes of metallurgical and thermal coal from the Bowen Basin. The combined capacity of both coal terminals is currently 75 million tonnes.
The development of a third coal terminal (Wiggins Island Coal Terminal) is currently being investigated and is expected to be built in three stages. Once all stages are completed the terminal is expected to have a total capacity of 70 million tonnes and cost $3.8 billion. If approved, stage one of the terminal is expected to be completed by 2012 and will have a capacity of 25 million tonnes.
Port of Brisbane
The Port of Brisbane is located in Brisbane, with the port's limits extending geographically from Caloundra to the southern tip of Moreton Island and also extends 16 km up the Brisbane River to Breakfast Creek. Established as a statutory authority in 1976, it was corporatised in 1994 under the Government Owned Corporations Act 1993. On the 1 July 2007, the Port of Brisbane Corporation Limited changed from a statutory to a company Government Owned Corporation. One of the major exporting commodities is coal.
Coal is exported from berth one and is operated by Queensland Bulk Handling Pty Ltd. Storage capacity at the berth is 360,000 tonnes and can load approximately 3000 tonnes per hour. Thermal coal is mined from the Jeebropilly, Oakleigh, Acland, and Wilkie Creek collieries in the Ipswich, West Moreton and Surat Basin and is transported to the port by rail. In 2007/08, the Port of Brisbane exported over 5.5 million tonnes of coal to Japan, Unites States, Chilie and New Caledonia.
Future major coal infrastructure projects include:
- Goonyella-Abbot Point Rail Expansion Project (including the Northern Missing Link) — a new northern rail link that will join the Goonyella Rail System to the Newlands Rail System, and access the Port of Abbot Point. The project is expected to be completed by September 2011 at a total cost of $1.7 billion.
- Surat Basin Railway — a proposed southern rail link to join the Surat Basin coalfields to the Moura Rail System, providing access to the Port of Gladstone.
Coal industry growth
The increase in railed coal over the past decade has averaged 8.22 per cent a year. Total railed coal in 2007/08 was 165 million tonnes, of which 9.3 million tonnes is used for domestic consumption, primarily for electricity generation, with the balance exported to more than 32 countries.
Exports of Queensland coal have increased from 79.6 million tonnes in 1996/97 to 152.2 million tonnes valued at approximately $16.5 billion in 2007/08.
Expansion of coal transport infrastructure is currently being planned to handle a forecast 265 million tonnes a year being railed in 2013/14, with virtually all of this extra coal being for export. This will require investment in rail and port transport infrastructure of more than $11.1 billion during this period. Further growth in demand for Queensland's premium coking and steaming coals is forecast beyond this time.
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