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Environment + Transportation

Easing Barriers for Expanded Port Capacity

Respecting Environmental Resources to Improve Abbot Point

The port of Abbot Point in Queensland, Australia—Australia’s northernmost coal port—is a strategic shipping area that offers deep water to accommodate large vessels close to shore. Due to these conditions, the port is constructing new coal tranches and realigning existing infrastructure to expand coal export capacity, making it one of the largest bulk coal terminals in the world. The port’s expansion will help support business growth in the region and boost the national and local economy, while also complying with stringent environmental standards given its location directly adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Caley Valley Wetlands.

CDM Smith is assisting North Queensland Bulk Ports with several aspects of the expansion, including approval management for capital dredging projects, strategic planning studies for future coal and port infrastructure, design of long-term water quality monitoring programs, and environmental studies and impact assessments for infrastructure within the port boundaries. CDM Smith will also carry out an innovative assessment of the Caley Valley Wetlands that will include combined modeling of surface and groundwater flows, and consider ecological factors such as bird habitats and groundwater ecosystems.

Many short- and long-term benefits will be seen as a result of the Abbot Point expansion. New employment opportunities for local residents will be created—including up to 10,000 jobs during construction and more than 500 during operation—and all goods and services will be sourced locally or regionally. At its full capacity, the port will also provide a major source of income for the state of Queensland through additional coal export royalties estimated between $2 and $3 billion per year, helping fund social programs such as schools, hospitals and health care.

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North Queensland Bulk Ports