Australia yesterday approved a controversial port expansion to support mining projects and the dredging of 1.1 million cubic meters of spoil despite conservationists’ fears it threatens the Great Barrier Reef.
The decision, creating a huge port capable of handling up to 120 million tonnes of coal per annum, comes two months after the government approved an Indian-backed plan to build one of the world’s biggest mines in the same area of Queensland State.
The A$16.5 billion (US$12.1 billion) Carmichael project by Adani Enterprises in the Galilee Basin, home to vast coal reserves, has attracted fierce criticism, requiring the fossil fuel to be shipped through the deepwater Abbot Point Coal Terminal which is currently at capacity.
Environmentalists have said that any expansion at Abbot Point risked the World Heritage-listed reef’s health and would destroy local habitats.
“The Queensland state Labor government’s Abbot Point Growth Gateway project has been approved in accordance with national environment law subject to 30 strict conditions,” a spokeswoman for Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt said, adding that further approvals were needed from the state government.
Earlier plans were for at least 3 million cubic meters of material to be dredged and dumped into waters around the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, but this was later abandoned after an outcry.
The approval now permits 1.1 million cubic meters to be dredged, allowing more freighters to dock at Abbot Point, near the town of Bowen, but spoil must be disposed of on land.
“All dredge material will be placed onshore on existing industrial land. No dredge material will be placed in the World Heritage Area or the Caley Valley Wetlands,” Hunt’s spokeswoman said. “The port area is at least 20 kilometers from any coral reef and no coral reef will be impacted.”
Supporters say the mine and a bigger port would provide thousands of jobs and pump millions into the local economy.
Adani, which has previously accused environmental activists of exploiting legal loopholes to stall its massive open-cut and underground mine which is forecast to produce 60 million tonnes of thermal coal a year for export, welcomed the decision.
“The expansion of Abbot Point, the lifeblood of Bowen, is key to Adani’s plans to deliver 10,000 direct and indirect jobs and A$22 billion in taxes and royalties to Queensland,” it said in a statement.
“The approval given by Minister Hunt to the Queensland government mirrors the approvals given to Adani’s mine at Carmichael and North Galilee Basin Rail projects, in that they reflect the strictest, world’s best practice environmental safeguards,” the company said.
Critics said that plunging coal prices make the development financially unviable and Standard Chartered and the Commonwealth Bank have withdrawn as financial advisers, while major European and US banks have refused funding due to environmental concerns.
Greenpeace said the Abbot Point greenlight was “irresponsible for the reef, illogical and unnecessary.”
“It’s illogical to expand the port to make capacity for the proposed Carmichael mine, because it is a dead-end prospect,” Greenpeace reef campaigner Shani Tager said.
“Adani hasn’t got the A$16 billion, no one’s lending it to them and coal prices are tanking. Even the International Energy Agency is questioning the project, Tager said.
WWF-Australia said the waters around Abbot Point were home to dugongs, sea turtles and snubfin dolphins while the dredge spoil would be dumped on land adjacent to wetlands used by migratory birds.
“It’s disappointing that the minister has approved this project within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, despite the damage it will do,” WWF-Australia spokeswoman Louise Matthiesson said.
“To expand the port, 61 hectares of seabed will be ripped up creating 1.1 million cubic meters of dredge spoil. Damaging dredge plumes will be created harming sea grass and potentially reaching nearby coral reefs,” she said.
STAYING AHEAD: Fitch said that TSMC remains technologically ahead of others, but Samsung is building a new chip fab, while China is investing in its domestic industry As escalating US-China tensions and COVID-19-related production disruptions force US technology supply chains to transform, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) US$12 billion chip fabrication plant in Arizona would be key to spurring greater US production of core semiconductor components, Fitch Ratings said. “We view the US-TSMC alliance as a first step in building a more autonomous US technology supply chain, given high barriers to entry, specifically related to the significant capital and design capability required for leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing,” Fitch said in a statement on Tuesday. “By working with TSMC, US chipmakers will not face the financial burden of incremental investment
DIVERSIFICATION: Although COVID-19 would push more companies to produce in emerging markets, DBS said that it was unlikely that firms would totally leave China Geopolitical tensions and supply disruptions are expected to accelerate the migration of manufacturing out of China, as concerns about the risk of production concentrated in one country increase, S&P Global Ratings said. Although its economic expansion might be weaker than previous levels due to the accelerated relocation of manufacturing, China’s economic growth would still be stronger than that of most other economies, the ratings agency said. “While absolute growth rates will moderate, we believe China’s economic performance will continue to be a key sovereign credit support,” S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Tan Kim Eng (陳錦榮) said in a statement on Thursday. “Its growth
Taiwan’s corporate landscape has changed significantly over the past 20 years, with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) replacing Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑) as the revenue leader, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC, 台積電) has emerged as the most profitable firm, a survey of Taiwan’s 50 largest companies published on Tuesday last week showed. The Chinese-language CommonWealth Magazine survey ranked Taiwan’s 50 largest companies based on their revenue last year, and compared them with the results of a similar survey it conducted in 2000. Only 33 companies on the original list remained in this year’s rankings, the survey found, following two
GEOPOLITICAL RISKS: Beijing announced plans to strengthen ‘enforcement’ in Hong Kong, sparking losses across Asia led by the Hang Seng’s 5.6 percent plunge Local shares on Friday ended sharply lower amid renewed tensions between the US and China over Chinese telecommunications equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd (華為) and China’s plan to introduce a national security law in Hong Kong. The TAIEX on Friday finished down 197.16, or 1.79 percent, at 10,811.15 on turnover of NT$177.183 billion (US$5.9 billion), almost flat from a close of 10,814.92 on May 15. The market was down across all major sectors, in particular electronics shares, which finished down 1.99 percent from Thursday’s close. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest wafer foundry and a chip supplier