The Queensland Government has released a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Abbot Point coal port project, bringing the development of the Galilee Basin a step closer to completion.
The draft EIS looks at all environmental impacts of the proposed expansion of Abbot Point, 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.
State Development Minister Anthony Lynham – who met with local stakeholders, including council, business, and community representatives in Bowen – said the draft EIS was available for public comment until 18 September, allowing more than 20 business days for public consultation.
“This is a milestone for the sustainable development of the Galilee Basin and the jobs and economic development it could deliver for Queenslanders. We’ve delivered on our election commitment to protect the Great Barrier Reef and the nationally-significant Caley Valley Wetlands,” he said.
“We are putting dredged material on port land next to the existing terminal, and we are minimising impacts to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area by ruling out at-sea disposal. The community can now have its say on the draft EIS with around 2400 pages of detailed investigatory information and almost 150 commitments to protect the environment.”
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 government was delivering on its promise not to build the infrastructure with taxpayers’ money, as was planned under the previous LNP Government.
“Importantly, any expansion at the port will be at the cost of Galilee Basin developers, including Adani, not Queensland taxpayers. The Queensland Government will deliver a robust final EIS, which will include feedback from consultation, to the Commonwealth Government in early October,” the Minister said.
“It’s then up to the Commonwealth Government, which has 40 business days to assess the EIS and deliver a final decision on the project. Work will only begin when environmental approvals have been received. We expect these works will create around 160 jobs for at peak construction.”