The Gladstone Ports Corporation is progressing its proposed Clinton Vessel Interaction Project.
The Gladstone Ports Corporation is progressing its proposed Clinton Vessel Interaction Project. CHRISSY HARRIS

GPC's $80m Clinton dredging project out for public comment

GLADSTONE Ports Corporation has reached the next stage in its proposal to dredge parts of the Clinton Channel to make it safer for ships to use.

The public has been invited to comment on the Clinton Vessel Interaction project, which would deepen and widen the harbour channel.

It's hoped the dredging project, which would remove about 800,000m3 of sediment, will make it safer for large ships to moor at RG Tanna Coal Terminal.

In its preliminary documentation, GPC said large vessels leaving from Wiggins Island Coal Terminal through the Clinton Bypass Channel risked causing damage to moorings and ships at RG Tanna Coal Terminal.

It also increases the time it takes to get ships in and out of the port.

"(It) results in forces imposed on the two vessels due to the displacement of water," the report said.

"These forces may be sufficient to break mooring lines.

"In the extreme, the vessel could fully break away from the berth ... a significant failure of this nature could result in major incident with economic and environmental consequences."

The project, worth up to $80million, was listed among 19 state "priority proposals" in the latest Building Queensland Infrastructure Pipeline Report, and was two steps away from being ready for "government consideration".

GPC chief executive Peter O'Sullivan described it as an "imperative" project to improve port efficiency and enhance safety.

"We have been working closely with Government and industry specialists to ensure due diligence during the planning process," MrO'Sullivan said.

The project would widen the channel by about 100 metres and deepen it to 16 metres at the lowest astronomical tide level.

Since its original documents were lodged in 2017, the Department of Environment sought more information about the potential impact on water quality.

The report said the updated assessment, made in conjunction with Pro Dredging and Marine Consultants Pty Ltd, gave provisions for dredging methods that would reduce the impact on water quality.

It also said it would more accurately predict impacts, rather than rely on worst-case scenario predictions.

BMT Eastern Australia's assessment of the proposed work found while there was no seagrass in the dredge footprint, parts of it did contain "low to moderate" soft corals, feather stars and hard corals.

GPC hopes the dredging will be completed between June to October 2019.

The preliminary project documents are available online or at Gladstone City Library.

Comments must be received by December21, in writing, to Attention to: the Clinton Vessel Interaction Project, Gladstone Ports Corporation Limited, PO Box 259, Gladstone, Queensland 4680 or to geninfo@gpcl.com.au.