North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP), which is managing the $6bn expansion of Abbot point coal port in Australia, is considering adding two more terminals to the port to increase coal export capacity to 300Mtpa.

With the addition of two new terminals, the total number of terminals at the port will be increased to nine.

NQBP corporate relations manager Mary Steele said the port, which aims to select developers by the end of the year, is discussing increasing capacity with the coal industry and the Queensland state government.

Abbot Point’s existing terminal is being expanded from 21Mt to 50Mt and NQBP has selected BHP Billiton (BHP), Hancock Prospecting and GVK to develop two more terminals with a capacity of 30Mt each.

Earlier in the year the port invited bids from coal mining companies to acquire extra capacity in the form of four new coal terminals at the port.

30 international and Australian companies have shown interest in the new coal terminals at Abbot Point, which closed in August.

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QNBP spokesperson told Platts: “There is a lot of interest in new port capacity, as companies want to mine coal in the Galilee Basin.”

Some of the companies interested in the project include Adani Enterprises, Bandanna Energy, Carabella Resources, East Energy Resources, Hancock Coal, Meijin Energy, Resourcehouse and Vale.

Earlier in the year the port authority made plans to add four coal terminals at Abbot Point under its T4-7 project, each with a capacity of 30Mtpa.

Abbot Point port currently has a capacity of 50Mtpa and is operated by India-based Adani.

The agreement regarding the new coal terminals at Abbot Point is expected to be signed between the Queensland Government and coal companies by the end of March 2012.

The coal terminal at Abbot Point is owned by the Port Corporation of Queensland (PCQ) and operated by Abbot Point Bulk Coal.

Earlier in May 2011, the Queensland Government leased the X50 Abbot Point Coal Terminal for 99 years to Mundra Port for $1.829bn.

Construction of terminals four to seven is expected to start in 2015 and should cost A$6.2bn (US$6bn).

BHP Billiton is planning to start construction on a second coal-export terminal at Abbot Point by the end of 2013, which is expected to be operational by 2016.

QNBP said that, once the terminal is fully operational, it is expected that the coal export capacity will increase to 60Mtpa.