Australian agency allows sand dump near Barrier Reef
Project will createworld’s biggest coal port possibly worth €18 billion
Mounds of coal can be seen along the coastline of Queensland at the port of Hay Point, located around 450 km southeast of the city of Townsville. Australia’s Great Barrier Reef watchdog gave the green light today for millions of cubic metres of dredged mud to be dumped near the fragile reef to create the world’s biggestcoal port. Photograph: Greenpeace/Patrick Hamilton/Handout via Reuters
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef watchdog gave the green light today for millions of cubic metres of dredged mud to be dumped near the fragile reef to create the world’s biggest coal port and possibly unlock AUS$28 billion (€18 billion) in coal projects.
The dumping permit approval clears the way for a major expansion of the port of Abbot Point for Indian firms Adani Enterprises and GVK Power and Infrastructure and Australian billionaire miner Gina Rinehart.
Together they have $16 billion worth of coal projects in the untapped, inland Galilee Basin.
“It’s important to note the seafloor of the approved disposal area consists of sand, silt and clay and does not contain coral reefs or seagrass beds,” the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority said.
Environmentalists, scientists and tourist operators had fought the plan, which they fear will harm delicate corals and seagrasses and potentially double the ship traffic through the World Heritage marine park.