Greg Hunt, who is our Federal Environment Minister, has just given go ahead to the expansion of the Abbot Point Coal Terminal near Bowen in northern Queensland — smack bang on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef.
Let’s hear it for the Federal Environment Minister, shall we?
The project, which already has environmental advocates crowd sourcing funds to bring a legal challenge against, will be one of the largest of it’s kind in the world and will involve dredging 1.1 million cubic metres of spoil near the reef that will then be disposed of on land.
The terminal will be located just 19km from the closest coral.
The government says the approval has been granted with 29 “strict conditions” and will enable coal to be safely shipped from proposed mining projects in the Galilee Basin — such as Adani’s proposed $16 billion Carmichael coal mine, which would be the largest in Australia.
Just for scale, this is what the Carmichael mine looks like compared to Paris:
Composed of six open-cut pits and up to five underground mines, it will supply Indian power plants with enough coal to generate electricity for up to 100 million people.
Hence, the need for a gigantic port to get all that amazing coal offshore, I guess.
**Mother Nature weeps.**
Supporters of the mine claim the expansion will provide thousands of jobs and pump millions into the local economy — a sentiment echoed by Hunt in a statement released following his announcement of the approval yesterday.
“The expansion of Abbot Point, the lifeblood of Bowen, is key to Adani’s plans to deliver 10,000 direct and indirect jobs and $22 billion in taxes and royalties to Queensland,” the statement said.
“This is the third time a well–managed, strictly regulated, science and evidence-based expansion approval has been the subject of a state and federal government approval process since 2010.
“Adani, working with the Queensland Government, is confident that the strict conditions placed on this project will enable the jobs and economic benefits that will flow from the expansion of this vital port for exports from our state to proceed.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has made it clear that the expansion would not proceed unless Adani paid for it.
“Once again I have made it very clear that this is a private company and the private company Adani must get the finance independently if they’re going to go ahead,” she said.
“There will be no State Government, no taxpayers’ money, going towards this project.”
Conservationists are continuing to lobby against the project, which they say poses a risk to the already threatened reef and the surrounding environment.