Port of Abbot Point expansion goes to tender

By June, 2015 October 29th, 2015 Infrastructure, State, Sustainability

The Queensland government has called for expressions of interest from construction companies to work on expanding the Port of Abbot Point.

It’s an ambitious plan to boost the Port’s capacity from 50 million tonnes per annum to 70 million tonnes per annum, and generate up to 155 jobs for about six months.

The increasing output from Australia’s mining sector has prompted the move to expand the Port’s capacity, to cater for additional coal from the Galilee basin, including Adani Mining’s proposed Charmichael Mine.

Minister for State Development Dr Anthony Lynham said the government is calling for expressions of interest from suitably qualified companies to undertake the dredging works and construct the dredged material containment ponds required to expand the Port of Abbot Point.

“The great majority of this workforce is expected to be sourced locally and these workers will be housed in towns around Abbot Point, including Bowen, providing a much-needed economic boost to these communities,” Dr Lynham said.

According to Dr Lynham, the government is “steadily progressing on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)”, and that the Palaszczuk Government was committed to a balanced approach to delivering vital infrastructure for Queensland’s economic future and protecting the environment, including the Great Barrier Reef.

“That’s why we canned the Newman Government’s plan to dump dredge spoil in the Caley Valley Wetlands and will instead place dredged material on unused industrial land next to the existing coal terminal,” he said.

The government and the North Queensland Bulk Ports are presently waiting for approvals from the Commonwealth government on the EIS so that it can engage a contractor.

“Tendering can be lengthy and detailed. We are kicking off the process now so we can be ready should we receive approval for the project,” Dr Lynham said.

The government released a statement that said the the EOI closes on 13 July 2015, and that shortlisted contractors will then be invited to tender with a view to having a preferred contractor well within the second half of 2015.

The proposed expansion of the Port has been a controversial issue that the state has grappled with due to the potential environmental consequences of the construction, dredging works, and the cargo that will inevitably pass through the facility.

Environmental advocacy groups like the Mackay Conservation Group have written extensively about the environmental risks associated with the expansion plan, claiming it to be a “disaster in the making” because of its potential impact on the Great Barrier Reef.

However, the Palaszczuk government has said that its plan is the “most sustainable option” for expanding the port, claiming that “no dredging will occur in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park”.

The government has also said that no dredged material will be dumped in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park or World Heritage Area, and that dredged material will not be dumped in the Caley Valley Wetlands.

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