Port Alma could ship out 57 million tonnes a year if two coal export projects are approved.
Port Alma could ship out 57 million tonnes a year if two coal export projects are approved.

Developers warn of delay for planned Queensland ports

DEVELOPERS of two major Central Queensland coal ports are warning of almost certain delays thanks to a lacklustre international market.

The Dudgeon Point coal terminal planned for south of Mackay and Fitzroy Terminal adjacent to Port Alma near Rockhampton are worth billions in capital investment alone.

If each were to be fully developed, they would deliver up to 3000 jobs combined in construction and operation.

Fitzroy is currently due to be finished in 2015, with construction due to begin on Dudgeon at the same time.

But gloomy world conditions - particularly coal prices- will likely slow down Fitzroy and has "paused" the process for Dudgeon.

The state-owned North Queensland Bulk Ports is planning Dudgeon Point with Indian miner Adani, which also has a stake in expanding the Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen.

A spokeswoman for NQBP said the design for Dudgeon was still being honed but approval process was on hiatus.

Forecasts published this week by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics forecast the volume of coal exports to increase by between 5% and 9% each year until mid 2018.

The ports corporation expects the project may have to wait until the nearby Hay Point coal terminal hits capacity.

For Mitchell Group, it was still fiercely chasing approvals for its Fitzroy terminal but its schedule for construction would depend on its customers.

Fitzroy project manager Peter MacTaggart said mine companies were focused on cutting costs, not developing new ports.

"We hope the demand is going to return but all you can do is be ready," Mr MacTaggart said.

"If you can be at the first wave when it comes through, that positions you well.

"If that is in time for approvals, then great. If not, we'll bide our time."