The North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) was granted Commonwealth permits last week to conduct maintenance dredging at the Port of Hay Point following a thorough consultation and assessment process.
The 10-year permits, issued by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, carry conditions that protect the marine environment.
Maintenance dredging at the Port of Hay Point is critical for maintaining port infrastructure and involves relocating sediment which travels along the coast and accumulates over the years where the shipping operations occur, NQBP said.
The 10-year permit allows a total of up to 756,553 cubic metres of maintenance dredge material to be disposed within a previously approved dredge spoil disposal site located in the Marine Park, plus a further 200,000 metres contingency for sediments deposited by extreme weather events such as cyclones.
A small proportion of maintenance dredging is permitted within the Marine Park (up to 33,509 cubic meters).
According to the company’s latest announcement, NQBP’s assessment reports found the risks to sensitive marine environments as a result of the maintenance dredging were predominantly low.
The permits allow for the long-term, sustainable management of maintenance dredging at the port and will safeguard the efficient operations of one of Australia’s most critical trading ports.
The initial maintenance dredging program is proposed to begin in late March and will run for around 40 days.