BHP Billiton Wins Right to Develop Queensland's Abbot Point Coal Terminal

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company, has won preferred developer status for the construction of a coal terminal at Abbot Point port in Australia’s Queensland state.

The terminal will have an initial capacity of 30 million metric tons a year, North Queensland Bulk Ports Corp. Chairman Leonie Taylor said in a statement today. Hancock Coal Pty has gained developer status for a separate export facility at the port, Taylor said.

Abbot Point, 25 kilometers (16 miles) north of the town of Bowen, has one terminal and is being expanded to increase capacity to 50 million tons of steelmaking and power-station coal annually in 2011. Talks will now start with the Queensland state government to negotiate development arrangements, Melbourne-based spokeswoman for BHP Amanda Buckley said in a separate statement.

“The new Abbot Point coal terminal is a key element in our growth plans,” Hubie van Dalsen, president of BHP Billiton metallurgical coal, said in an e-mailed statement.

Abbot Point exported 14.4 million tons in 2008 and 2009, and handled 176 ships during that period, according to the North Queensland Bulk Ports Corp Web site.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Sharples in Melbourne at bsharples@bloomberg.net

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