The Federal Government’s delayed decision on dredge spoil at Abbot Point coal terminal has raised concerns the project could be further delayed.
The Federal Government’s delayed decision on dredge spoil at Abbot Point coal terminal has raised concerns the project could be further delayed. Lee Constable

Decision on dredge spoil may delay port expansion

THE clock is ticking on a coal project that had another setback this week.

The Federal Government has delayed a decision on dredge spoil until the incoming Queensland government takes a position on the Abbot Point port expansion and rail infrastructure.

However, the Federal Government's conditions on port expansion approval stipulate that dredging can only occur from March 1 to June 30.

It's a move that could delay Indian mining conglomerate Adani's plans to ship coal from the Galilee Basin by more than 12 months.

This has placed a cloud over the $2.2 billion project long seen as the catalyst to deliver a much-needed economic boost for the region.

The mining giant issued a statement on Monday saying a change in government would not deter its short-term commitment.

The Newman-led LNP government had promised to co-fund building the North Galilee rail line from the Adani-operated Carmichael Mine to the expanded Abbot Point coal terminal.

The LNP was set to raise funds through leasing state-owned assets.

Labor refused to fund the rail project as part of its election campaign.

Industry-funded Queensland Resource Council chief executive Michael Roche has urged the incoming State Government to hastily ensure the project goes ahead.

"Everyone in industry and government knows there is a huge need for a shot in the arm of confidence for communities like Mackay and the broader Bowen Basin," he said.

Carmichael is projected to produce thermal coal from 2017, subject to the Abbot Point expansion.

Mr Roche said the mine was viable due to a projected tripling of Indian demand by 2040. The $2.2 billion project had been earmarked as an economic boost for the region, Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said.

"Thousands of jobs are at stake, and we must find a way to work co-operatively with the incoming State Government on this," Mr Christen said.


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