Abbot Point expansion enters next stage

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Queensland Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham yesterday announced the preparation of environmental impact statement (EIS) for the proposed expansion of one of Queensland’s major coal export facilities – Abbot Point near Bowen.

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The EIS represents the next stage in the expansion – needed for proposed coal mines in the Galilee Basin – and will look at all environmental impacts, including detailed investigations into dredging impacts, social and economic impacts, marine ecology and terrestrial ecology, as well as management of cultural heritage with the Juru traditional owners.

According to the Minister, construction for the proposed port expansion would create 120 jobs for up to four months, as well as jobs “associated with the proposed mines and flow-on supply chain jobs”.

“This government is committed to a balanced approach to protecting the environment and delivering vital infrastructure for Queensland’s economic future. That’s why we canned the Newman Government’s plan to dump dredge spoil in the Caley Valley Wetlands and will instead place dredged material on unused industrial land next to the existing coal terminal,” the Minister said in a press release.

“The port expansion is a critical element for unlocking the coal reserves in the Galilee basin, which has the capacity to take Queensland’s coal industry to the next level and create thousands of jobs.”

Abbot Point is located 25 km north-west of Bowen and has a capacity of 50 million tonnes per annum. According to estimates, the proposed expansion will increase capacity by 70 million tonnes per annum to cater for additional coal from the Galilee basin, including Adani Mining’s proposed Carmichael Mine.

Dr Lynham said the EIS is expected to be completed in six to nine months, with 20 business days included for public consultation—double the amount provided by the previous government.

“The Palaszczuk Government intended for the project to follow due process, including a full EIS, unlike the former government who tried to rush through a project which would have harmed the Caley Valley Wetlands without proper scrutiny,” he said.

“The full cost of the EIS will be paid for by mine proponent, Adani, not taxpayers, under an agreement with the Government.”

Dr Lynham said the expansion project proposed dredging about 61 hectares of seabed within port limits, outside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

“There’s no question about it, Queensland can have this vital port infrastructure and a vibrant Great Barrier Reef—the findings of the EIS will show us the best way to achieve this.”