Dredger confident of dump approval at Abbot Point

THE authority behind the dredging of Abbot Point coal terminal believes it has a strong chance of gaining approval to dump the dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

It also says dumping the dredge spoil on land would not be the best environmental outcome.

North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) has been given the green light to dredge three million cubic metres of sand as part of the coal terminal expansion.

However, a decision on what to do with the dredge spoil is currently in the hands of the Great Barrier Reef

Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), which has extended its decision deadline to January 31.

A NQBP spokesman said they didn't have a "plan B" if their permit to dump the dredge spoil offshore was rejected.

"...We believe that the science and further work being undertaken will support the granting of the permit by GBRMPA under the Sea Dumping Act," he said.

When asked about the possibility of dumping the spoil on land, which other groups have suggested, the NQBP spokesman said it had been considered and rejected because studies showed it did not provide the best environmental outcome.

GBRMPA initially had a Christmas Eve deadline to decide whether it would approve or reject the proposed dumping location, or defer the decision, which it elected to do.

In a statement it said a senior delegate, at general management level, was assessing the matter.

A GBRMPA spokeswoman said they would consider the impact of dredging on the environment and social, cultural and heritage values of the marine park.

They would also consider written comments received about the application and how dredging would impact upon public appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of the marine park, the spokeswoman said.



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