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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Queensland issues EIS for Abbot Point port project

Government officials representing the Australian state of Queensland have issued a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that aims to progress plans for the Abbot Point coal port project in east of the state.

Located 25 km north-west of Bowen the port currently has only one operating terminal, Adani Abbot Point Terminal (AAPT or T1) but plans are underway to develop a further two temrinals.

Serving the nearby $12.5bn Carmichael coal mine, T1 is operated by Abbot Point BulkCoal (APB) a controlled subsidiary of Glencore and handles coal supplied by rail from Newlands, Collinsville and Sonoma mines and a number of Bowen Basin customers such as BMA.

In 2011, Indian multinational conglomerate Adani Group obtained a 99-year lease of the X50 Abbot Point Coal Terminal, and aims to increase capacity by 70 million tonnes per annum, along with the creation of an additional two offshore berths.

The port hit record throughput last year, handling 28.7 million tonnes across the whole of 2014. It is served by tugs based in Bowen and operated by Bowen Towage Service, a joint venture between APB and Switzer.

Near the end of last year,  U.S. bank Morgan Stanley was selected to provide consultancy services to Adani, on the sale of part of the company’s stake in the Abbot Point coal port in Australia.

The proceeds of the sale will be used to expand the controversial port which borders the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. The planned expansion project is likely lead to more ships navigating the sea lanes and has already raised opposition from environmental groups.

“Morgan Stanley Australia are Adani’s advisors on the potential partial sale of Adani’s existing terminal (T1) at Abbot Point,” Adani said in a statement. “Any partial sale of Adani’s current holdings at the port would—far from a withdrawal from the port—in fact be used to deliver the port’s expansion.”

Despite acting as an advisor on the project Morgan Stanley was eager to distance itself from any direct investment in the potentially damaging expansion project.

“Morgan Stanley will not lend to or invest in the expansion of Abbot Point,” the bank said in response to enquiries by U.S.-based environmental group Rainforest Action Network.


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