Perth — The government of the Australian state of Queensland has given its approval to dredging work to expand the Abbot Point port, a necessary step in Indian company Adani's plans for its A$16.5 billion ($12 billion) Carmichael coal project, Anthony Lynham, the minister for mines, said in a statement Tuesday.
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An environmental impact statement on the Abbot Point expansion project has been lodged by Queensland with the central government, which has the final say on the dredging and construction work, he added.
"Expansion at Abbot Point is a critical piece of the puzzle for the development of the Galilee Basin," Lynham said in the statement.
Additional shipment capacity at Abbot Point, which currently has only one coal terminal leased by Adani, would allow the Indian company to export coal from its proposed Carmichael project to international markets.
Safeguards had been put in place by the Queensland government to protect the Great Barrier Reef, and the onshore Caley Valley wetlands, Lynham said.
"The expansion option ensures that no dredging will occur in the Marine Park, no dredged material will be dumped at sea, or in the Caley Valley wetlands and dredged material will be beneficially reused on land," he added.
Earlier in October, Australian environment minister Greg Hunt overturned a legal ruling blocking the progress of the Carmichael coal project and its associated rail infrastructure when he gave his approval for the second time.
Adani Group's Australian subsidiary, Adani Mining Proprietary Limited, plans to develop an open-cut mine in the Galilee Basin to yield 60 million mt/year of coal and ship this via a new 190 km rail line to Abbot Point.
Adani currently leases Abbot Point's single 50 million mt/year coal terminal and wants to build additional shipment capacity at the port.
Separately, the government of Queensland is moving ahead with approvals for the development of Abbot Point port and new coal terminals.
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