Xstrata has agreed to a pre-feasibility study into the port which could work as a link in the supply chain for its Surat Basin Wandoan project.
The proposed Port Alma Coal Export Terminal would also include two non-coal berths, Xstrata said in a statement yesterday.
“We are very pleased to be working with the Gladstone Port Corporation to consider the feasibility of developing Port Alma to meet increasing infrastructure needs of the state of Queensland,” Xstrata Coal chief executive Peter Freyberg said.
“As global demand for coal continues to increase Xstrata is taking a leading role in exploring new opportunities to expand Australia’s export capacity.”
The pre-feasibility study will undertake geotechnical investigations, hydrographic surveys, sedimentation studies and was set to commence early this month with a completion date in June 2009.
The port move has won the endorsement of the Queensland Government and Premier Anna Bligh hinted at dredging the port to improve export capacity.
“Dredging of Port Alma harbour would be needed to ensure its long-term viability and growth,” Bligh said.
“At present Port Alma can only handle vessels up to 35,000 tonnes, but with dredging vessels of up to 90,000 tonnes could be considered.”
Bligh labelled the port as a “win-win” for the state.