Abbot Point expansion 'unrealistic'

Abbot Point coal terminal.
Abbot Point coal terminal. Peter Holt

FIRST supersized, then downsized. Plans for the $6.2 billion Abbot Point Coal Terminal expansion have been slashed by the State Government.

Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney has labelled the project "unrealistic and undeliverable".

"The proposals for funding were never going to come to reality," Mr Seeney said yesterday.

North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation reportedly received a letter from the State Government on Friday, notifying them that the project wouldn't proceed in its current form.

The expansion has been reduced from six new wharves to two.

This would give it an annual capacity of 240 million tonnes rather than 400 million tonnes, a report in The Weekend Australian said.

Whitsunday Mayor Jennifer Whitney said the decision had come as a shock.

"Up until late last week we were of the view that everything was going ahead and there had been a slight delay with some environmental issues," Cr Whitney said.

"It's a blow to the projected growth, the economy and to the people of the region.

"Because people have been waiting for something of this size to happen for the past couple of years," she said.

Mr Seeney said the State Government would look at a more measured incremental development at Abbot Point, which had a more realistic chance of being delivered.

"We will focus on the delivery of T2 and T3, that are already approved," he said.

"We will work with the (resources) industry to ensure any requirements beyond that are met."

Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen is pointing a finger at "the extreme Greens" for "killing off" the expansion.

"The State Government's decision was not to kill the project off; they simply checked its pulse and found it was already dead.

"The real culprits are the extreme Greens and their fellow travellers in the Gillard Labor government who have dragged out the regulatory process to 17 months.

"Greens leader Christine Milne should now come to Bowen and explain her party's campaign to the locals who will miss out on the new opportunities the multi-cargo facility would have created.

"She should come up here and tell us what her plan is for growth in Bowen and it bloody better be more than windmills and growing lentils."

The decision to downsize follows Rio Tinto's withdrawal from the project in late April, which Mr Christensen blamed on delayed government approvals.

Brazilian miner Vale had also withdrawn, the Weekend Australian reported.

Topics:  abbot point abbot point coal terminal coal terminal expansion

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