Terminal won't impact reef: BHP

BHP Billiton says its proposed 60 million tonnes per annum Abbot Point coal terminal 2 in Queensland, providing export capacity for its Caval Ridge and Peak Down mine expansions, will not spoil the Great Barrier Reef.

Lauren Barrett

The Abbot Point coal terminal 2 project will be located 25km north of Bowen, adjacent to the existing Abbot Point coal terminal.

It is currently in a prefeasibility stage, following last year’s announcement by North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation awarding BHP the preferred developer contract for the project.

As detailed in BHP’s submission to the Department of Environment and Resource Management, the terminal is to be accompanied by various infrastructure developments, including coal inloading and outloading facilities and a new stockyard but they would not have any adverse effects on the reef.

“The project is not visible from major population centres and is not located in or near areas noted for their natural beauty, tourism usage or iconic world heritage features,” BHP said in a statement.

“The project will therefore not significantly impact upon the aesthetic values or natural beauty of the GBR, such that the value is lost, degraded or damaged, or notably altered, modified, obscured or diminished.”

The submission also said the project would not impact on “significant” coral reef areas or fish habitats.

While it was noted turtle species were known to exist at Abbot Point, BHP said it had only observed nesting in low-density on Abbot Point beaches.

“While some nesting habitat has been observed within the project area, this is not considered to be high-value habitat and is only sporadically used,” BHP said.

It said the project would not affect the breeding of turtles or lead to the long-term decrease in the size of any turtle populations because the beach within the project area was not critical for turtle nesting.

The referral for the terminal follows the guidelines set out by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, which aims to protect and manage nationally and internationally important flora, fauna and ecological heritage places.

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