Abbott Point coal loading facility with coal water run off moving North West into the Wetlands
|Location||25 km north of Bowen|
|Operated by||Adani Group|
|Owned by||North Queensland Bulk Ports|
|Type of harbor||Artificial|
|Vessel arrivals||190 (2010-11)|
|Annual cargo tonnage||15,063,943 (2010-11)|
Abbot Point is the most northerly deepwater coal port of Australia, situated approximately 25 kilometres north-west of the township of Bowen, Queensland. Established in 1984, it consists of a rail in-loading facility, coal handling and stockpile areas, and a single trestle jetty and conveyor connected to a berth and shiploader, located 2.75 km off-shore. Coal reaches the port via the GAP railway line from the Bowen Basin Coalfields.
The Port of Abbot Point is of significant strategic value to North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation, as there are very few locations along Queensland's eastern seaboard where deep water (>15m) is so close in-shore. However, the port's location is controversial as it is so close to the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO world heritage site. There are concerns that the reef and its animal life may be harmed by the ships transporting the coal as they transit the reef to and from the port.
India's Mundra Port signed a 99-year lease on Abbot Point Terminal 0 in 2011. The deal cost Adani Group $1.83 billion. Adani is seeking to expand the terminal to allow another 35 million tonnes of thermal coal exports per year, on top of the current 50 million tonnes of capacity.
The port is planned to provide export facilities for coal mined from the Galilee Basin. The terminal is being expanded with the addition of a second wharf and shiploader as well as an additional onshore stockyard and machines. Once completed it will be the largest coal port in the world.
In May 2012, the expansion plans were scaled back, with only two new wharves being built instead of six. The scaling down of the project came after Rio Tinto announced its withdrawal. BHP Billiton and Hancock Coal are expected to use the second and third terminals.
An environmental assessment which included a review of 16 environmental studies, found the port's expansion would not have a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef and that Greenpeace's claims regarding the expansion's impact were overstated. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Protection Authority (GBRMPA) advised minister Greg Hunt not to approve dredging for the Abbott Point coal port expansion. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act was amended so that government does not have to consider expert advice before approving major developments such as mines and ports.
Federal approval for the port to be used by Hancock Coal to export coal from the Alpha Coal Project was granted on 10 October 2012. Conditions for the go-ahead included a seagrass offset scheme, a wetland management plan, funding for indigenous rangers, monitoring of air and water quality, amongst a total of 60 conditions aimed primarily to protect the Great Barrier Reef. For every one hectare of seagrass impacted by the port expansion eight hectares must be protected. Coal exports are to begin in 2016.
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- Adani of India to Buy Australian Port for $2 Billion
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- Gillian Tan (29 May 2012). "India's Adani Group seeks EAC help to fund Abbot Point". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
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- 16 Environmental Studies, archived from the original on 27 June 2013, retrieved 30 May 2013
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- Jabour, Bridie (4 February 2014). "Great Barrier Reef park directors still face conflict of interest questions". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
- Melissa Maddison and Megan Woodward (10 October 2012). "Burke approves new Abbot Point coal terminal". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- AAP (10 October 2012). "New Abbot Point coal terminal wins federal approval". The Australia. News Limited. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- Rosanne Barrett (11 October 2012). "Coal terminal comes with big strings attached". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation of Queensland
- Abbot Point on Infomarine On-Line
- Abbot Point on Geoscience Australia