AFTER months of deliberation, Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has approved the controversial expansion of Abbot Point coal terminal.
Yesterday the minister approved the $3 billion Adani coal-loading Terminal 0 project, which will service the Indian miners' sprawling Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin.
He also gave the go-ahead for a dredging program for three proposed terminals at the port, approving the removal of a total of three million cubic metres of sand for Terminal 0, GVK Hancock's Terminal 3 and an additional coal-loading terminal.
The dredge spoil will be moved offshore but is to remain at least 40km from the nearest reef.
Mr Hunt said "some of the strictest conditions in Australian history" had been placed on these projects to ensure any impact was avoided, mitigated or offset.
He said 95 environmental conditions had been slapped on the Abbot Point project.
"Today I am announcing new plans to protect the long-term future of the Great Barrier Reef," he said.
"I have advised the Queensland Government that it is my intention that the first priority for all future capital dredging projects within the Central and North Queensland coastal zone will be for shoreline, near to shore or land reclamation disposal."
Mr Hunt said these approvals would allow existing ports to expand their capacity, taking away the need for the creation of new ports in the future.
"It is important to note that each of these sites is already heavily industrialised and that the processes were highly advanced at the change of government," he said.
Mr Hunt also approved two other projects off Gladstone, including a $15 billion factory on Curtis Island to convert coal seam gas to liquefied natural gas.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche yesterday welcomed the approval, saying ports along the reef exported $40 billion worth of commodities a year.
THE controversial expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal has been approved.
Federal Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt has today approved the capital dredging program for the proposed terminals at the Port of Abbot Point as well as the Adani T0 project at the same location.
"These projects are for existing developed port and industrial sites and have been approved subject to the highest environmental standards and conditions," Mr Hunt said
"These decisions take into account the latest and best science and management practices, and consider the draft Strategic Assessment of the Great Barrier Reef and Coastal Zone, the Independent Review of the Port of Gladstone and the Queensland Government's draft Ports Strategy," he said.
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