Local News

Adani Confident No Environmental Harm Has Or Will Occur At Abbot Point

Adani Australia has said, the past fortnight has seen North Queensland experience an extreme weather event, which has created a disaster zone in many areas across the state.

It has caused flash flooding and land slips across an area that stretches 700km from Cairns to Mackay.

Unfortunately, Bowen has not been immune to the extreme weather.

More than 700mm of rain, high winds and flash flooding has occurred throughout Bowen over the past fortnight.

Like many other businesses, operations at the Abbot Point Port have also been impacted.

Operations at Abbot Point Port were suspended early this week due to the extreme weather, which made it unsafe for employees to continue operations with many areas of the Terminal deemed unsafe for entry. Our priority is, and always will be, the safety and well-being of our employees.

More than 900mm of rainfall has fallen since late December.

A further inspection was able to be undertaken onsite on Thursday. The inspection indicates there has been no release of waters into the marine environment or the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, however flood water has been released to the Caley Valley wetlands from an authorised release point.

Abbot Point Operations promptly reported these preliminary inspection findings to the Department of Environment and Science.

Abbot Point Operations will continue to monitor the releases and keep the Department informed, and is confident that no environmental harm has or will occur.

Since 2017, Abbot Point Operations has implemented a number of measures to improve environmental management, including the commencement of a three-year program (involving an initial $15 million investment project currently underway and a total program forecasted cost up to $50 million) to facilitate continuous water infrastructure upgrades.

These upgrades are improving our ability to mitigate the impacts of extreme weather events such as cyclones and floods.

It is important to note that these upgrades as part of this three year program have already delivered successful outcomes in mitigating a large portion of this weather event by reducing the volume of flood water released into the Caley Valley Wetlands over the past fortnight.

Abbot Point Operations will work in concert with the Department of Environment and Science to ensure we maintain our strict environmental standards in place at the Port.

We recognise there is significant interest in the operations of Abbot Point Port. We have chosen to make this statement with the expectation that people recognise our commitment to act with integrity and transparency at Abbot Point Operations.

Conservationists say they have no confidence that Adani has not polluted the Caley Valley Wetlands or the Great Barrier Reef during a spill of coal contaminated water from its port at Abbot Point during the recent heavy rainfall events in North Queensland and are calling on the Queensland Minister for Environment and Science to launch an immediate inquiry into the spill and the repeated contamination incidents at Abbot Point.

Adani announced today that it had released contaminated water into the precious Caley Valley Wetlands, a repeat of the pollution that occurred less than two years ago during Cyclone Debbie.

Peter McCallum, Mackay Conservation Group coordinator said, “History shows we can’t trust Adani’s claim that there has been no pollution. They said the same thing during Cyclone Debbie but they are now facing court for polluting the Reef”.

In March 2017 rainfall from Cyclone Debbie resulted in Adani releasing polluted water from its site at a rate more than 800% above the temporary licence it was granted during the event. The company is currently being prosecuted by the Queensland Government for this breach.

“We have no confidence that Adani’s pollution licence has not been breached over the past week and fear the department will be unable to establish a breach because there is, as yet, no real time monitoring of water quality at Abbot Point coal terminal ,” said Mr McCallum.

“The department typically visits the site long after the heavy rain ends to measure pollution levels, which is like testing a drunk driver several days after they left the pub.”

“In September the Department of Environment and Science said that there should be suitable monitoring in place at Abbot Point prior to the current wet season and that the department planned to carry out the monitoring itself. We ask Minister Enoch to explain why that promise has not been fulfilled.

“Adani has a history of not obeying laws, both here and overseas, and is currently under investigation by the Department for illegal drilling into groundwater at their Carmichael mine site. This new incident again underscores why we cannot trust Adani to protect our wetlands, the Reef or our water.

Adani next faces court on 5 March 2019 in Bowen over the breach of its licence during Cyclone Debbie in 2017.