Aldoga project unlikely: Government
By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au
CONFUSION surrounding the proposed $2 billion Aldoga project has increased, with the State Govern-ment all but giving up on the project yesterday.
A statement released to The Observer by State Development and Innovation Minister Tony McGrady, showed the government's lack of confidence in the project.
"Ultimately, it's a decision for Aldoga. But we have to be realistic and at this stage it doesn't look like Aldoga will go ahead with the project,'' Mr McGrady said.
He said although Aldoga looked sure to pull out of the project, there was potential for someone else to pick up the pieces, with moves already made to sell the project.
"I know of a number of international players who have expressed interest in taking over the project,'' Mr McGrady said.
One possibility was for the successful bidder of the Govern-ment's controversial Aurukun bauxite leases in far north Queensland to buy the project.
Aldoga refused to confirm whether or not it would make a bid for the deposits when they were tendered last month.
The State Government's statement follows media reports that Aldoga had folded following the jailing of a former director and the resignation of other key board members including managing director John Benson and chairman Karl Stewart.
Gladstone Engineering Indus-try Development Board chief executive Ken King agreed with the State Government that Aldoga looked sure to pull out of the project. Mr King said he had not spoken with the company for some time. Calliope Shire mayor George Creed told The Observer the Aldoga project looked uncertain at best.
"It had become obvious the company had run out of steam for some time. My council has had no contact with any representatives of the company for some considerable time,'' Cr Creed said.
However according to Mr Benson, who spoke to The Observer yesterday from Indonesia, the reports are untrue.
"The report in The Courier Mail is wrong and it buggers me why they don't ring me to check these things before printing them,'' Mr Benson said.
He admitted that he had re- signed from his previous role in the company, along with Karl Stewart, but that they had both been reinstated as part of a new board called Aldoga Services Pty Ltd, which was designed to overlook both the construction and engineering sector of the company.
The changes come after Al- doga announced it would re- structure the company after de- ciding in August to postpone the project until next year.
Mr Benson did confirm that former Chinese based director, Lee Ming Tee had been jailed in Hong Kong for publishing false company accounts and was no longer part of the board.