The AUS $387 million first phase of the project will begin immediately, with the Port of Gladstone becoming one of the world’s major Liquid Natural Gas exporters.
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (AAPEA), in charge of the project gained approval from Federal Environment and Water Minister Tony Burke earlier this month, as reported by PTI.
The approval was seen as the final hurdle for the project as lengthy negotiations continued to escalate over concerns that the dredging's environmental effect would be disastrous, yet measures have been taken to minimise the impact.
The Western Basin Master Plan covers around 12,000 hectares and is home to a host of marine wildlife including migrating dugongs, who will have no alternative but to find another grazing ground when they return to the area to feed.
Van Oord and Dredging International"" title="Read more port technology news on Dredging International">Dredging International Australia have been granted the contract for the Western Basin Dredging and Disposal Project.
The plan incorporates the deepening and widening of existing channels and swing basins, with the creation of new channels and swing basins over a 20 year period.
Material dredged during this project will be placed in a reclamation area to the north and immediately adjacent to the existing Fisherman's Landing reclamation area which will create a land reserve used to service new port facilities, according to the Gladstone Observer.
Queensland Treasurer and Minister for State Development and Trade, Andrew Fraser, told the Gladstone Observer that it was a milestone day for the port.
"This is the largest dredging project undertaken in Australia and will ensure the economic future of the port and of Gladstone", Mr Fraser said.
"This project has been conditioned by both state and federal governments and will serve as a template for future dredging works throughout Australia. The conditioning of the Western Basin Disposal and Dredging Project shows the commitment of both my government and the federal governments to the balanced and orderly development of the Gladstone region", Mr Fraser continued.