Unique system reduces dredging for coal terminal

THE Fitzroy Coal Terminal at Port Alma is yet to see a green light from the government, but if it goes ahead, it will use a unique new loading system.

While most of the project will follow conventional methods, the berthing system for giant coal ships will be completely different and will require very little dredging compared with other projects.

Fitzroy Terminal project manager Peter MacTaggart told the Golding Industry Conference yesterday the system would use the "trans-shipper base concept".

If that sounds like jargon, here is the simple version: instead of having a large jetty where the coal is loaded on the ship close to the shore, the Fitzroy Terminal would have a floating coal loader attach itself to the side of the visiting ship.

Barges of coal will be loaded at the mainland and then taken to the floating coal loader, where they will dock and be unloaded.

Because the system can be used further offshore, Mr MacTaggart said the port would only require about 200,000 cubic metres of dredging.

Other new terminals often require millions of cubic metres to be removed.

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