The Australian Government issued conditional approval for the expansion of Adani Group’s existing coal port at Abbot Point near Bowen in north Queensland.
With the Department of Environment approval, the firm can carry out operations including dredging of 1.1 million cubic meters of spoil on land.
The dredged spoil need to be placed on land on the site known as T2, adjacent to the existing coal terminal, not on the Caley Valley wetlands or within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
Conservationists, however, claim that the project would significantly affect the area’s wildlife and environment.
Agence France-Presse cited Environment Minister Greg Hunt spokeswoman as saying: “The Queensland state Labor government’s Abbot Point Growth Gateway project has been approved in accordance with national environment law subject to 30 strict conditions.
“All dredge material will be placed onshore on existing industrial land. No dredge material will be placed in the World Heritage Area or the Caley Valley Wetlands.”
The expansion will allow coal from projects such as Adani’s $12.5bn Carmichael project in the Galilee Basin, to be shipped for export.
Queensland Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Anthony Lynham said: “The approval is another milestone towards realizing the jobs and economic benefits that developing the Galilee Basin could bring to Queensland, while continuing to protect the Great Barrier Reef.”
In addition to dredging, the approval allows freighters to be dock at Abbot Point.