The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has expressed significant concern about plans that suggest Indian coal and energy company Adani is still determined to expand its port at Abbot Point.
There is speculation that Adani is looking to sell some or all of its current port (Terminal 1) to raise funds to progress its second port terminal at Abbot Point (Terminal 0), which will see 3 million cubic metres of dredging and the dumping of dredge spoil in the Marine Park, announced marineconservation.org.
AMCS Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director, Felicity Wishart, said today that “with the mining boom gone bust, we are at risk of seeing port expansions, dredging and dumping that damage the Reef for proposed mining operations that will never eventuate.”
“Currently the Abbot Point coal port is operating at less than 50% capacity. There is already a new coal port at Wiggins Island in Gladstone that is struggling to find contracts,” Ms Wishart said.
“We don’t need to be building more ports. We need to put more effort into protecting the Reef.
“The Queensland and Australian governments have let us all down, approving new ports that are not needed and that will put more pressure on our Reef, already struggling from poor health.
“In May, the Queensland Resources Council revealed that 25% of the coal currently produced in Queensland is being done so at a loss, including half of thermal coal production. And some of those were only operating because whether they kept exporting coal or not, port and rail contracts had to be paid.
“The Abbot Point expansion project is looking less and less viable. The only thing going for it is our governments’ blind faith in the future of the coal business in Queensland.
“They appear blind to the falling coal prices and royalty downgrades in the mining sector, instead supporting a project that will harm the Reef and the tourism jobs it supports.
“To make matters worse, Adani has a terrible environmental record in India which raises serious concerns about its plans to build yet another port in such a sensitive environment as the Great Barrier Reef.
“While we take heart that one of the biggest mining investors in the world, Blackrock, doesn’t want to be seen investing in projects that could ruin the Great Barrier Reef, there seem to be others happy to line up in the hope of making a quick buck.
“When will industry and governments see sense and commit to protect the Reef and its $6 billion tourism industry?” Ms Wishart said.
Press Release, July 23, 2014