Queensland slashes Abbot Pt plans
RARELY is a government praised for slashing infrastructure spending, but the mining industry is thankful the state dumped a plan to create the world's biggest coal terminal and thousands of jobs at Abbot Point in Central Queensland.
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney formally put a kibosh on the $9.billion expansion project on Monday, but news broke of the impending cuts on Friday.
Of the nine coal-loading terminals planned for the state-owned North Queensland Bulk Port's site, three would remain.
Former Premier Anna Bligh said in December the expansion would create "tens of thousands of jobs" by the time it began loading coal in 2017.
The one existing terminal, now owned by Indian mining giant Adani, is being expanded with another two - named T2 and T3 - to be built by Gina Rinehart's Hancock Coal and BHP Billiton.
These plans have not changed.
But the relief from the industry was clear- it felt the Bligh Government's ambitious plans demanded a massive investment from mining companies, even as other ports were being developed.
Carabella Resources boss Anthony Quin said the state's decision brought certainty, control and the ability to move more coal for less money.
Carabella was one of the cogs in the North Queensland Coal Terminal syndicate - a group of five mine companies - that invested alongside Anglo American, Rio Tinto, Vale and Clive Palmer's Waratah Coal to develop six terminals and a multi-cargo facility - a gigantic sheltered harbour.
In a statement, Waratah described the LNP's actions as being "more practical and efficient"
The firm is developing its China First Project in the Galilee Basin west of Rockhampton, with a plan to export its coal through a new port adjacent to the current Abbot Point complex.
Queensland Resources Council chief Michael Roche said this was no sign that the state's coal industry was in decline.
"It is recognition from the state government that there are a number of export terminals under development, and that an incremental approach to port capacity is the way to go."
Mr Seeney said plans from the former government were both "unrealistic and undeliverable".
"Our focus on T2 and T3 is a more practical and efficient approach to expansion of infrastructure at Abbot Point," he said.