Wood pellet exports fuel port growth

Wood pellet exports
Wood pellets being exported from the Port of Bundaberg by Altus Renewables. Source: Altus Renewables

Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) has confirmed it will more than double the number of wood pellets exported through the Port of Bundaberg.

Altus Renewables will begin shipping annual volumes of 100,000 tonnes of wood pellets around the middle of next year.

That's up from 37,000 tonnes exported through Bundaberg last financial year.

Last year Altus Renewables and Mitsui announced they had entered into a new long-term wood pellet offtake agreement.

The one million tonnes, 10-year sale and purchase agreement will see the export of industrial wood pellets to the Japanese power generation market where they are used to reduce carbon emissions.

The company's Tuan production facility is located near Maryborough.

Wood pellet exports
Wood pellets destined for export to Japan from the Port of Bundaberg.

Mitsui has also provided Altus with finance to upgrade the plant to achieve annual production of 125,000 tonnes.

Gladstone Ports Corporation said this would result in further upgrades to the company’s storage and loading facilities at the Port of Bundaberg.

Altus has built a dedicated 30,000 tonne wood pellet receival, storage and export facility at the port, which links into Queensland Sugar's ship loading infrastructure.

Wood pellets are trucked to the facility and stockpiled in bulk until a sufficient volume is available for export.

Altus has a 20-year contract with Queensland Sugar to use their loading infrastructure.

“The outlook for new export trade at the Port of Bundaberg is outstanding, with ilmenite exports planned to commence in 2020,” GPC said in a statement.

“This is good news for Queenslanders in terms of jobs, economic growth and international trade.”

Ilmenite is a titanium-iron oxide mineral used in paint, printing ink, fabrics, plastic, paper, sunscreen, food and cosmetics.

Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey welcomed confirmation of the Altus expansion.

“The more business that goes through the Port of Bundaberg the stronger our case becomes to upgrade infrastructure associated with the port,” he said.

In May this year Australian Bauxite Limited signed an MoU with Gladstone Ports Corporation to investigate exporting bauxite in bulk tonnages from the Port of Bundaberg.

Wood pellets
Wood pellets from Altus Renewables being loaded onto a ship at the Port of Bundaberg.