MELBOURNE, June 20 A proposed $10 billion
Australian coal port expansion, one of two port expansions
planned near the Great Barrier Reef, was shelved by its sponsors
on Friday who pointed to a lack of demand for the extra
The Dudgeon Point coal terminal project, designed to handle
180 million tonnes a year, was withdrawn on Friday ahead of a
deadline for submitting all the studies for its application for
The decision came in the wake of a slide in coal prices to
five-year lows that has forced miners, led by BHP Billiton Ltd
and Glencore, to cancel coal projects, shut
mines and sack thousands of workers.
The two-terminal project was backed by India's Adani
Enterprises Ltd and a subsidiary of Brookfield
Infrastructure and led by ports operator North
Queensland Bulk Ports Corp (NQBP).
"Those interested in port development must demonstrate
demand and current and short-term forecast market demand for
coal does not support an expansion to the capacity proposed in
the Dudgeon Point Coal Terminals Project," NQBP Chief Executive
Brad Fish said in a statement.
NQBP is also involved in plans to expand another coal port,
Abbot Point, in Queensland, which faces a legal challenge by
green groups and marine tourist operators concerned about
potential harm to the Great Barrier Reef.
They fear the Abbot Point project, which involves dredging
and dumping 3 million cubic metres of sand about 25 kilometres
(15 miles) away from the reef, could harm corals and a range of
marine life on the reef.
The Dudgeon Point project would have involved dredging about
five times the amount of sand.
The Australian and Queensland governments are under pressure
from United Nations agency UNESCO's World Heritage Committee to
take more action to protect the Great Barrier Reef otherwise it
may be put on a list of sites in danger next year.
Bowing to those concerns, Fish said NQBP would do a broad
port planning review and revise the scope of the Dudgeon Point
project at the port of Hay Point, but gave no timeframe for
completing that work.
"Recent strategic assessments of the Great Barrier Reef will
be considered as part of the port planning," NQBP said.
Adani spokesman Craig Dowling said Adani remained interested
in building a terminal at Dudgeon Point, but said Adani plans to
use Abbot Point for its A$16.5 billion Carmichael coal and rail
"We have not changed our view, but we are happy to go along
with the new master plan," Dowling said.
($1 = 1.0639 Australian Dollars)
(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)