PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The A$1.6-billion expansion of Australia’s largest lead and copper export port in Townsville, Queensland, has been approved by the state’s Coordinator-General.
The 30-year development plan includes four key elements, including capital dredging of some 11.48-million cubic metres of sediment to widen and deepen the channels and expand the harbour basin, establishing a 152 ha reclamation area, construction of 4 km of rock revetments and potentially a new 700 m western breakwater, and the construction of six new berths.
State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the Coordinator-General approved the port expansion with conditions that addressed concerns over environmental and social impacts.
“The Coordinator-General has been working closely with the Port of Townsville to ensure all potential social and environmental impacts were addressed in the evaluation report, and comprehensive conditions set to manage potential impacts on Cleveland Bay in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area,” Lynham said.
“Today’s announcement means the project is a step closer, which in turn means expanded capacity at the port, which will allow the one-quarter of cruise ships which cannot currently enter the port to berth at Townsville, increasing tourism numbers and revenue for the region.”
The port is considered a critical trade supply chain handling about ten-million tonnes of produce worth more than A$10-billion each year, with the expansion allowing the port to accommodate larger ships.
The Queensland government has committed A$75-million towards the channel works, which will start next year pending commonwealth approval of the Additional Environmental Impact Statement and finalisation of funding.
A decision by the commonwealth government is expected by October 24.