GVK Gains Approval for Port of Abbot Point Development (Australia)
GVK has welcomed the Australian Federal Government’s approval of its Terminal 3 (T3) Development at the Port of Abbot Point, near Bowen, under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EBPC Act).
Following a rigorous and thorough assessment process by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (SEWPaC), Australian Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke announced that the GVK’s Alpha Coal Port Project at Abbot Point has been given a go-ahead. This follows the separate approval for the Alpha mine and rail projects on August 23, 2012.
Speaking on the development, Dr. GVK Reddy, Chairman, GVK said, “This development is yet another milestone towards our goal to be the premier, most reliable coal supplier to the world enabling better lives. We further believe that we can provide the best quality coal to supply power to developing countries including India. Moreover power generation is a great enabler to economic growth and a better standard of living. The development further strengthens our commitment to develop our world-class projects in a timely and responsible manner.”
Coal is an important part of the global energy portfolio, especially with respect to electricity generation, producing about 41% of the world’s power. Due to its low cost and availability, the use of increasing quantities of coal globally is vital particularly for the ongoing enhancement of living standards for developing countries. High grade thermal coal produced from this project will be used for export markets in North Asia along with select GVK power projects in India.
“We are delighted with this decision. We are the only coal developer in Australia to possess environmental approvals at a state and federal level that integrate the mine, rail and port bringing to finalisation the Tier One environmental approvals that will significantly assist in the facilitation of opening up of the Galilee Basin. Importantly, we believe the overall assessment process has resulted in best practice environmental protection outcomes which we support wholeheartedly,” said GVK Vice-Chairman, G V Sanjay Reddy.
Besides creating thousands of jobs the combined Alpha mine, rail and port project’s returns to government of over $1 billion each year in royalties and taxes will ensure means more money for governments to spend on as infrastructure, health, schools, police, services, local communities, careers for the next generation and sport and recreation.
In addition, GVK, through its mine/rail conditions, will also specifically provide a $2 million contribution to the coordination of research into EPBC listed precious fauna over ten years.
The port approval also provides for over $20 million of GVK expenditure during the initial project approval life for Indigenous Rangers and other State/Federal support for the Great Barrier Reef Field Management Program and other reef conservation benefits through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
The environmental assessment of GVK’s port development at Abbot Point (T3) has been enhanced via a voluntary Cumulative Impact Assessment (CIA) process that has been underway for approximately 12 months. The CIA also involves two other proponents and the port authority North Queensland Bulk Port Corporation working together on a voluntary comprehensive report which includes a set of studies in relation to potential impacts on such issues as shipping, fishing, noise, marine & terrestrial biodiversity and visual amenity which have been the subject of rigorous independent peer reviews.
A major innovation for Australian Coal Ports is GVK’s plan to construct and operate Dual Quadrant Shiploaders at T3. These require a reduced footprint and structure compared to the traditional A Frame shiploader and wharf design. The Quadrant Shiploaders mean that impacts during construction and operation will be significantly less than that envisaged in our approvals. For example, there will be less pile driving and therefore reduced noise and seabed disturbance, reduced visual and noise impacts during operation, and reduced carbon footprint due to the deletion of surge bins and conveyors.
The adaptive management approach taken by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities that will factor the final outcome of the CIA work is to be commended and will provide for sustainable development along with the best insurance for the future protection of the environment.
GVK has the native title agreements in place for the entire project, thanks to the cooperation and on-going support of four traditional owner groups (Wangan and Jagalingou, Jangga, Birri and Juru Peoples).
GVK Hancock’s $10bn Alpha Coal Project involves a thermal coal mine in the Galilee Basin, a 495 km standard gauge railway line and port facilities at Abbot Point. Pending all approvals, first coal from the Alpha Project is scheduled for early 2016 with the product bound for the Asian export market.
Press Release, October 11, 2012; Image: waratahcoal