Australian govt clears expansion of Adani's coal terminal at Abbot Point

The Australian government has approved dredging for expansion of the port at Abbot Point in Queensland, which will enable Adani to ship coal from its proposed mining projects in the Galilee Basin, including the $16-billion Carmichael mine.

The latest approval, posted on the government's website on Monday, allows dredging of 1.1 million cubic metres of material near the Great Barrier Reef, but under 29 conditions.

The approval has been granted to Queensland Department of State Development, according to an order posted on the website of Australia's environment department.

The expansion will make the Abbot Point terminal one of the world's largest coal ports.

Abbot Point is situated about 25km north of Bowen on the north Queensland coast, about 400km from the vast coal reserves of the Galilee Basin.

The approval, granted by environment minister Greg Hunt, will be valid till 31 January 2031.

The approval by the government comes a week after an Australian court threw out a challenge by a green group to Adani's Carmichael coal mine project in Queensland.

Adani, which acquired mining leases in Queensland, has been facing a number of problems in Australia, including opposition by environment groups.

Adani Mining Pty Ltd, a unit of the Adani Group, which is developing the Carmichael coal mine, says the project will yield 60 million tonnes of coal a year. The company is also building a 189km railroad to transport the coal.

Adani Australia also claims the mine project will deliver 10,000 jobs and $22 billion in taxes and royalties.

In October, the Australian government had attached 36 conditions when it re-approved the Adani Group's coal mine and rail project in accordance with the country's environment laws.

The expansion of Abbot Point port will help Adani and GVK Group – both Indian companies – to ship coal from their coal mines in Queensland.

''The expansion of Abbot Point, the lifeblood of Bowen, is key to Adani's plans to deliver 10,000 direct and indirect jobs and $22 billion in taxes and royalties to Queensland,'' Australian news website ABC quoted Adani's Australian unit as saying in a statement.

''Adani welcomed and willingly supported the move to an onshore disposal of dredged material last year, when a site not previously available became a viable option for proximate, well-managed disposal of dredged material. This is the third time a well-managed, strictly regulated, science and evidence-based expansion approval has been the subject of a state and federal government approval process since 2010,'' the company was quoted as saying.

''The approval given by minister Hunt to the Queensland government mirrors the approvals given to Adani's mine at Carmichael and North Galilee Basin Rail projects, in that they reflect the strictest, world's best practice environmental safeguards. Adani, working with the Queensland government, is confident that the strict conditions placed on this project will enable the jobs and economic benefits that will flow from the expansion of this vital port for exports from our state to proceed,'' the company added.