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GHD Advisory Delivers Landmark Rehabilitation Plan for Port Terminal

Hiresh Devaser
Hiresh Devaser

By The Maritime Executive 03-26-2020 04:19:43

GHD Advisory has completed the first ever publicly available rehabilitation plan for a major coal export port terminal in Australia, a plan that is delivering significant value at least 30 years in advance of the terminal’s end of life.

The Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal (DBCT) near Mackay in Queensland is leased by DBCT Management under an arrangement with the Queensland Government. As part of this arrangement, DBCT Management may ultimately be required to rehabilitate the onshore and offshore infrastructure of the port terminal to its natural state and condition.

GHD Advisory has developed a comprehensive rehabilitation plan based on a rigorous technical framework outlining the specific decommissioning, demolition, disposal, remediation and rehabilitation tasks required for rehabilitating DBCT. Importantly, the rehabilitation plan has helped DBCT Management prepare an accurate and robust cost estimate for the work required.

“The DBCT rehabilitation plan has contributed to significantly reducing DBCT Management’s exposure to any unplanned financial liability at the end of its lease for the terminal,” said Hiresh Devaser, GHD Advisory’s Service Line Leader in Australia, for Investment, Policy & Economics.

Another important benefit of the plan is that it enabled DBCT Management to deliver an evidence-based cost estimate to the Queensland Competition Authority (QCA), as part of DBCT Management’s 2021 draft access undertaking. The QCA is responsible for assessing whether the draft access undertaking, which considers rehabilitation obligations, is prudent and efficient.

“The QCA’s currently approved arrangements for access to DBCT include consideration of future rehabilitation obligations. GHD Advisory’s rehabilitation plan for DBCT demonstrates that the proposed tasks and costs are backed by evidence-based logic,” said Hiresh.

Hiresh added that rehabilitation of port terminals was a new and evolving area, and owners and operators of other port terminals could learn from the DBCT experience.

“Whereas mine sites get a lot of attention regarding asset closure, there is much less research and knowledge in relation to the remediation and rehabilitation of port and terminal infrastructure,” he said. “The rehabilitation process for a port terminal can be far more complex, given the size of the facilities and how sensitive the marine environments can be to the nominated demolition and disposal approaches. These considerations trigger an additional dimension of planning relative to the mining rehabilitation process.

“Our advice to other owners and operators is to start early on rehabilitation planning and to not underestimate the complexity, duration and costs.”

To support clients with their rehabilitation planning journeys, GHD Advisory has been developing a rehabilitation plan and cost estimate planning framework for port and terminal owners/operators. The framework will enable clients to efficiently account for and seamlessly integrate the impacts on rehabilitation costs from changes in regulations, terminal configurations, technology, and input prices.

“There’s a great opportunity here for port terminal owners and operators to start conversations with key stakeholders about obligations to rehabilitate or repurpose the infrastructure,” said Hiresh. “Our clients can use our rehabilitation plan and cost estimate planning framework to implement funding arrangements for asset rehabilitation and repurposing obligations. This can be done well in advance of such obligations arising, to mitigate asset-stranding risk and continue managing infrastructure to deliver enduring community and economic benefit. This could form an important part of the terminal's master planning and sustainability strategy.”

About Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal

Located at the Port of Hay Point near Mackay in Queensland, DBCT is part of one of the largest coal exporting terminals in the world. The terminal operates around-the-clock exporting primarily metallurgical coal from Central Queensland’s Bowen Basin mines to ports around the world. The terminal is a common user facility, owned by the Queensland State Government and currently leased to DBCT Management.

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