Richard Stibbards of Yeppoon.
Richard Stibbards of Yeppoon.

Locals want in on coal action

IT will cost more than $1.2 billion to develop a coal terminal on Wiggins Islands and Richard Stibbards is determined to get a slice of the action.

Richard, who owns Yeppoon-based Capricorn Cladding and Insulation, was one of 180 business leaders who met in Rockhampton yesterday to find out how they could cash in on just one of the major resources projects planned for Central Queensland.

Work on the Wiggins Islands terminal is due to start in August and companies are being urged to register their details now to be considered as contractors or suppliers.

With finance from around the globe and eight major coal producers in the consortium to develop the terminal in Gladstone, there will be plenty of opportunities for businesses in the region to benefit before shipments start in 2014.

Gerry Brophy, the terminal projects development general manager, said there was a commitment to work with local contractors and suppliers and estimated up to 900 jobs would be created in the construction phase when hundreds of millions of dollars would be spent on roads, earthworks, dredging, rail lines, conveyors, stockyards and jetties.

“I think there will be something in this for us,” Richard said. “Our business is industrial and we get around a bit so having so many opportunities so close will be really good for us. I'm also very interested in the LNG developments.”

He said the number of businesses represented at the meeting at Kershaw House showed local companies were switched on to the possibilities.

When it is complete the terminal, which will sit next to Curtis Island where several LNG plants will be built, will initially export 27 million tonnes of coal from mines in the Bowen and Surat basins. The meeting was told the capacity could eventually reach 80 million tonnes a year with coal from 22 companies and 33 mines.

The project will involve construction of a 6.5km rail spur and a conveyor over mud flats to Wiggins Islands. There will also be a 1.5km jetty to a wharf for the coal to be loaded on to bulk carriers.