Press release – 7 May, 2013Sydney, Wednesday 8 May 2013: New analysis by Greenpeace shows that the Queensland Government’s plan for the next wave of coal terminal development at Abbot Point in north Queensland will require dredging of an extra 13 million cubic metres of seabed within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area – more than four times the current amount proposed.“The World Heritage watch-dog UNESCO has just strengthened its call to halt port development that would impact the World Heritage values of the Great Barrier Reef, or risk seeing it listed as in-danger,” said Greenpeace Senior Climate Campaigner, Georgina Woods. “Instead of paying heed, the Queensland Government is charging ahead with destructive developments like a 4 year old full of sugar.”
The extra dredging is required two new large new coal export terminals on the northern tip of Abbot Point known as ‘AP-X’. These are in addition to three proposals – requiring for 3 million cubic metres of dredging – already in the approvals process at Abbot Point.
Coal storage for the AP-X project would be located far inland with a 6 km long, 250m wide, infrastructure corridor cutting through the stunning Caley Valley Wetlands, home to 18 endangered, vulnerable or near-threatened bird species.
"Environmentalists, fishermen, local residents, tourism businesses, and even the RSL are opposing the current dredging proposal – yet the Queensland Government is rubbing salt in the wound by pushing for more reckless development and more dredging."
“The State Government claims AP-X is a better alternative than the discredited and derided Multi-Cargo Facility proposal, but it would require 13 million of cubic metres of dredging and lead to hundreds more ship movements every year in the World Heritage Area.”
It is not clear whether the dredged material would be dumped in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, disposed of on land, or used for land-reclamation.
"Exporting coal is one of the key drivers of climate change, which comes back to us in the form of more extreme weather events and coral bleaching," she said.
The preferred proponents of the AP-X project are Anglo American and Northhub (a joint venture between Aurizon and Lend Lease).
How the dredging figures were calculated
of the AP-X development released by the Queensland Government clearly indicate the area proposed to be dredged. Its current depth is approximately 4-5 metres necessitating significant amounts of dredging to increase water depths to those required for large bulk carriers. By examining the bathymetry of the area it’s possible to calculate the amount of dredging required. Our estimate assumes that the shipping channel will need to be 18.5 metres deep and the ship berths will need to be 21 metres deep (equivalent to the depths for the T0-3 terminals nearby). Greenpeace has calculated that this will require the removal of an estimated 13 million cubic metres of seabed. The project is also likely to require significant amounts of regular maintenance dredging.
State Government’s description of the AP-X project
DSDIP (2012) Invitation for registrations of interest for participation in the first stage of the AP-X, Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning in collaboration with the Office of the Coordinator-General, Projects Queensland and North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation, December 2012.
For more information contact Greenpeace Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner Dr Georgina Woods on 0437 405 932 or Communications Manager James Lorenz on 0400 376 021.