Townsville Port Expansion Project Advances

Northern Australia’s Townsville Port Expansion Project (PEP) has taken a step forward with more opportunity for comment on the project’s Additional Environmental Impact Statement (AEIS). 

State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said while the expansion was vital, it needed to proceed at no cost to the Great Barrier Reef.

“This $1.64 billion proposal includes deepening and widening the existing shipping lanes, construction of an outer northern harbour of the existing port, six new ship berths and a new western breakwater,” Lynham said.

“It also includes the capital dredging of 11.4 million cubic metres of sediment to be re­used to create 152 hectares of reclaimed land for the port. None of the capital dredging material is to be dumped at sea,” the minister added.

The AUD 1.64 billion (USD 1.25 billion) expansion project is aimed at accommodating forecast growth in trade at the port and address current capacity constraints.

As a result of the project, the port annual throughput is expected to climb from its current 9.8 million tons to 48 million tons by 2040.

Ports Minister Mark Bailey said the Port of Townsville was a state priority port and that the project now incorporated on­land beneficial re­use of all capital dredge material.

The independent Coordinator-General has released AEIS in response to submissions and the request to provide further clarification on matters raised during the public consultation period of the environmental impact statement (EIS).

According to Lynham, key issues for the assessment include marine water quality impacts arising from dredging activities, management of construction activities and road impacts during each phase of construction.

Submissions on the AEIS are scheduled to close on November 7, 2016.

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