A new Port of Gladstone report has deemed environmental impacts of dredging acceptable which provides a strong foothold towards the approval of the highly anticipated federal government dredging to expand Abbot Point.
A proposal to dredge three million tonnes of soil will expand Abbot Point enabling the opening up of multi-billion dollar resources of the Galilee Basin.
If the project is approved, Abbot Point would unlock billions in dollars of resources expanding to the Galilee Basin, and the area would become one of the largest coal ports in the world.
Environment Minister Mark Butler has explained that the Port of Gladstone report was highly important as it had been carried out at the request of the United Nations body responsible for world heritage.
According to the report, worried environmental stakeholders were “not always clearly substantiated or evidence-based”.
The minister has delayed the decision on the Abbot Point Coal Terminal dredging project until after the federal election in early September, as he need more time to look over new reports. Today`s positive report of the Gladstone Port could prove instrumental in the approval of the highly disputed dredging proposal ““ unlocking the gateway to the multi-billion dollar Galilee Basin.
The highly anticipated independent report commissioned by the federal government into the management of Gladstone (QLD`s largest port) revealed that dredging of the ocean and dumping of dredge spoil is “environmentally acceptable”ť; findings which will be greatly drawn upon in the decision over the dredging proposal of Abbot Point.
A four person panel in conjunction with expert, Ian Irvine of Pollution Research Pty Ltd examined if sediment that was extracted by dredging was environmentally damaging if disposed of at sea. According to Dr Irvin, the sediment was deemed safe with contaminant levels reportedly acceptable. It was also concluded that fish health issues and deaths are directly related to multiple pressures including extreme weather events (i.e Cyclone Yasi, the large flooding and the overflowing of Awoonga Dam causing overcrowding).
It also stated that the Gladstone Port existed well before the Great Barrier Reef was World Heritage listed.
The Galilee Basin holds an estimated $71 billion in untapped new investment for QLD and has the potential to create tens of thousands of new mining jobs in Queensland.
A decision regarding the dredging near the Great Barrier Reef has many of the global mining magnates monopolising the region holding their breath. The likes of Gina Rinehard, Clive Palmer and Indian coal giants Adani are all significant stakeholders of the Galilee Basin and Abbot Point, all of which will be breathing a little easier tonight, as this much anticipated report rebuts environmental arguments on dredging damage.
This essentially provides solid environmental evidence to assist in the case towards the approval of dredging of the Abbot Point Coal Terminal Project.
This new reports findings is certainly seen as a positive step towards approval of the highly controversial dredging near the Great Barrier Reef, which if approved will be the gateway to the multi-billion dollar Galilee Basin and unlocks thousands of mining jobs in QLD.
The positive news for QLD mining jobs is continuing with 6000 new mining jobs on the horizon as billionaire Clive Palmer this week won his Waratah Coal bid to build a $6.4 billion thermal coal mine at Alpha and extensive 500km rail line to Abbot Point.
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Reference: Abbot Point Coal Terminal Expansion Closer