Australian Port Increases Coal Loading Capacity

Australia's Gladstone Port in Queensland is loading record volumes of export coal, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie says.

The port, which is undergoing redevelopment, loaded 1.4 million tonnes of export coal in the week ended August 25, news agency Dow Jones reports.

It is expected Gladstone will have a capacity of 75 million tonnes of coal by the end of 2007, an increase of 30 million tonnes since mid 2005.

Beattie says the next major project at the port is the development of the Wiggins Island Coal Terminal.

A feasibility study of the project will be conducted over the next year.

"Once the study is complete and commits received from coal companies, construction is expected to start in 2009, with an additional export capacity available in 2012," Beattie says.