According to the Australian Financial Review, Burke extended the deadline for approval of Abbot Point’s super-sizing until December, protracted from the initial date of March 30.
The expansion has been a focal point in Greenpeace’s plan to halt Australia’s booming coal industry due to the adverse effects it would pose to the environment, in particular the Great Barrier Reef.
The anti-coal movement will aim to disrupt and delay key projects and infrastructure, while simultaneously creating investor uncertainty.
The Queensland government last year announced plans to extend the expansion of the coal terminal from the planned seven terminals up to nine, which would put it on the map as one of the largest coal export facilities in the world.
The proposed expansion will see export capacity at the port rise from 50 million tonnes per annum to 400Mtpa by 2017.
Greenpeace campaigner John of Hepburn said the Abbot Point expansion posed some serious concerns.
“It is clear that outside the coal industry, very few Australians had any idea of how enormous the coal port at Abbot Point could become,” he told the AFR.
“It would be three times bigger than the biggest coal port anywhere in the world with 4000 coal ships cutting through the reef from it each year.”
While Hepburn welcomed Burke’s move to delay its approval, he said it was important the government completed a strategic assessment of the impacts the expansion would have on the nearby Great Barrier Reef before any final decisions were put in place.
Abbot Point currently has one export terminal and two under development by BHP Billiton and Hancock Coal.