Another company withdraws from Australia’s Abbot Point coal port expansion: Indian coal cos Adani and GVK last men standing

Press release - 25 February, 2014
Brisbane, Australia 26 February 2014. One of the world’s largest infrastructure developers, Lend Lease has announced that it has pulled out of the highly contentious AP-X coal terminal at Abbot Point in Queensland, alongside Australia’s World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef.

This follows BHP Billiton’s decision in November last year to withdraw their proposal to build the Terminal 2 project at Abbot Point and surrender their development rights, ruling out greenfield coal infrastructure developments in a slumping coal market.

In 2012 Rio Tinto cited ‘economic uncertainty’ for shelving plans for its port development at Fitzroy Delta in Central Queensland.
This means the only companies still pursuing coal terminal developments at Abbot Point are Indian giants Adani (Terminal-Zero) and GVK (Terminal 3) in partnership with Hancock Coal Infrastructure. The health of their financial projects has been assessed as poor.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Campaigner Louise Matthiesson said, “Proponents of coal terminal expansion at Abbot Point are increasingly recognising the environmental, reputational, material and financial risks of developing these damaging projects, acknowledging there is no business case to proceed, and pulling out.
A 2013 report by the US Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) found that Adani’s Carmichael coalmine, rail and terminal project in Queensland is “uncommercial”. Similarly, another IEEFA report in 2013 examined GVK’s $10bn Alpha coalmine, rail and terminal project, finding it was “uneconomic” and a “quagmire not an investment”, and warning that “no investor should take part”.
When questioned during today’s half yearly investor briefing, Lend Lease CEO Mr Steve McCann confirmed that following an internal review Lend Lease has allowed their partnership with Aurizon on the project to lapse, and were “therefore no longer involved in the AP-X project at Abbot Point.”

Greenpeace has calculated that the AP-X development would require up to 13 million cubic metres of dredging in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, on top of the 3 million cubic metres of dredging already approved for the GVK and Adani projects.  The Lend Lease-Aurizon partnership ‘North-Hub’ was shortlisted to develop the huge new coal terminal in April 2013 by the Queensland Government.

The development of AP-X would require several million tonnes of seabed dredging and dumping in Reef waters. It would lead to thousands of additional ship movements each year, risking damage to the Reef, its coral and wildlife. The expansion of Abbot Point would enable the escalation of coal mining in the Galilee and Bowen Basins in central Queensland.

Greenpeace congratulates the Australian Youth Climate Coalition for their work in pressuring Lend Lease to withdraw from the AP-X development due to its potential impacts on the world’s climate and the Great Barrier Reef.

Further information: Louise Matthiesson Greenpeace Australia Pacific 0406 041 428