Thousands of jobs could be created if Abbot Point, Australia’s northernmost deepwater coal port located 25 km north of Bowen, Queensland, is expanded.
The referral to expand the port has been handed to federal environment minister Greg Hunt, who is tasked to perform due diligence before approving the project.
Commenting on this, Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said in a press statement, “Regional communities including Alpha, Clermont, Emerald, Bowen, Moranbah, Mackay, Rockhampton, and Townsville are all expected to benefit from development of the so-far untapped resources in the Galilee Basin with thousands of jobs expected to flow during construction and operations.”
The expansion of Abbot Point would facilitate Indian group Adani’s AUD16 billion (USD12.4 billion) Carmichael project, which includes a coal mine and a rail line. The expansion has been controversial because of Abbot Point’s close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and concerns over where the dredge spoil would be disposed.
Hunt told ABC that the spoil would be disposed onshore, ending a century-old practice of disposing the spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The port is near substantial coal reserves in the Galilee Basin and expanding it would enable Adani to proceed with plans to develop its Carmichael mine project, which would create Australia’s biggest coal mine.