Indian conglomerate Adani reached two milestones this week for its proposed AUD20 billion (USD14.6 billion) Australian port, rail, and mine project in northern Queensland.
On 21 August, the Queensland state government announced that a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on dredging and expansion at the port had given the project the go-head. The final EIS will go to the federal government for approval next month.
Meanwhile preparations are under way to start dredging work for the AUD1.2 billion Abbot Point port expansion on 1 November, industry sources told IHS Maritime. However Adani will have to foot the bill.
Funding is still at issue, with many questioning the project’s viability while coal prices remain at record lows. Earlier this month the Commonwealth Bank withdrew funding support for Adani’s Carmichael mine after a court upheld a challenge by a local environmental group against government approval for it. The court found that advice about the effect on two vulnerable snake and lizard species had not been considered.
The Australian Government responded by attacking environmentalists opposed to the mine as ‘eco warriors’, ‘saboteurs,’ and ‘vigilante litigants’. It announced new legislation to block further court action this week.
While the mine is still held up in the courts, litigation against the port expansion was dropped last year after agreement to dispose of all dredge material on port land, rather than adjoining the Great Barrier Reef or nearby wetlands.
On 8 July that the state government announced the Abbot Point Growth Gateway Project to ship out an estimated 25 billion tonnes of coal from mines to be developed in the Galilee Basin, 300 km inland. It aims to expand port capacity from 50 to 120 million tonnes a year.
The Queensland Government has already called for expressions of interest “from suitably qualified and experienced companies for construction of dredged material ponds and dredging works”, a Department of State Development spokesperson told IHS Maritime.