Mackay is located on the Pioneer River, approximately 970km north of Brisbane. It has a population of over 120,000 people, making it the 22nd most populous city in Australia.
Mining plays an important role in the Mackay region, contributing close to $AUD1.5 billion or one third of Mackay’s annual gross product. This is largely due to the region’s proximity to the Bowen Basin, a major coal resource, and the regional mining centres of Moranbah, Dysart, Clermont, Nebo and Glenden. These mines are serviced by coal loading terminals at Hay Point/Dalrymple Bay, to the south of Mackay.
Sugarcane is also another important resource for the region. Because of Mackay’s sub-tropical climate, it is one of Australia’s prime sugarcane growing areas. The area receives on average 1500mm of rainfall annually, mostly in the January to April wet season. Raw sugar for the export market is serviced by the bulk sugar terminal at the Port of Mackay. The major destination for Queensland raw sugar is Asia, with refineries in South Korea, Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia being the primary customers.
The Port of Mackay is the sixth largest port in Queensland. It is a major regional port with operations consisting of receiving and assembling cargoes for export, and unloading and transferring import cargoes. Trade through the port is largely influenced by the supply of agricultural products grown in the region, and the import of bulk commodities to service regional coal mines.
The Port of Hay Point, located 40km south of Mackay, is one of the largest coal exporting terminals in the world. The port comprises two separate coal export terminals, Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, leased from the State Government by the private company, Babcock & Brown Infrastructure, and the Hay Point Coal Terminal, owned and operated by BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance.