Minister confirms Port Botany project to get under way

News – August 20, 2008

New South Wales’ Minister for Ports & Waterways has confirmed that dredging is about to commence at Port Botany in Australia as part of the first stage of the A$1 billion port expansion.

In a statement, Ports and Waterways Minister Joe Tripodi said the dredging process would take a year.

“Dredging the bay will ensure we have the capacity to accommodate the expected doubling of trade through the port over the next 10 to 15 years,” Mr Tripodi said.

“A silt curtain is being installed around the area where dredging is being done to confine sediment and to protect the wider Botany Bay environment.”

Mr Tripodi said a cutter suction dredge from Belgium, the Nu Bounty, would be used during the initial stages of dredging. The dredger is 50m in length with a breadth of 10m and has the capability to dredge to a depth of 22m below water.

Nu Bounty will reclaim an area between the existing Brotherson dock and the end of the third runway adjacent to the Patricks terminal. A concrete precast facility will be built in this area later in the year.

From early 2009 a larger dredging vessel will complete the dredging activities.

“The expansion of Port Botany is one of the largest infrastructure projects being undertaken in Australia and an important component of the Iemma Government’s plans for the economic growth of NSW,” Mr Tripodi said.

“Protecting the environment and reducing disruption to recreational bay users will be a priority with the entire expansion project. A second silt curtain will be installed around an area of sea grass adjacent to Foreshore Beach to ensure this natural habitat is also protected from sediment from the dredging process.”

“Naturally an operation of this size will have some short-term effects on the waterways, but these curtains should reduce the impact and ensure there are no long-term affects to the environment, and minimal disruption to recreational users of the bay.”

Water quality monitoring has already commenced to set a baseline against which to measure turbidity or cloudiness resulting from the dredging activities.

Monitoring will be undertaken throughout the dredging process.