31 January 2014

Dumping on the Great Barrier Reef

"Australia's Great Barrier Reef watchdog gave the green light on Friday for millions of cubic metres of dredged mud to be dumped near the fragile reef to create the world's biggest coal port and possibly unlock $28 billion in coal projects.

The dumping permit clears the way for a major expansion of the port of Abbot Point for two Indian firms and Australian billionaire miner Gina Rinehart, who together have $16 billion worth of coal projects in the untapped, inland Galilee Basin.

Environmentalists, scientists and tourist operators had fought the plan, which they fear will harm delicate corals and seagrasses and potentially double the ship traffic through the World Heritage marine park.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, an independent government agency charged with protecting the reef, acknowledged the concerns, but said expanding Abbot Point would require much less dredging than other port options.

"It's important to note the seafloor of the approved disposal area consists of sand, silt and clay and does not contain coral reefs or seagrass beds," the marine park authority's chairman, Russell Reichert, said in a statement..."
Fortunately, the dredged material will all stay in one place after it's dumped, and won't move around or anything like that, because there aren't any, you know, currents or waves or such.

Addendum August 2014:  A hat tip to reader expatQLD for sending in these followup details on the outcome of the proposal.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is likely to be spared from having 3 million cubic metres of dredge spoil dumped on it as part of the Abbot Point coal terminal expansion.

Dawson MP George Christensen confessed in an open letter to Whitsunday residents that “I got it wrong” and is in negotiations with North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) to find a land-based dumping site for the spoil.
Details at the link.


  1. I've been following this story in the news. I was aware a decision was due soon and must have missed it in yesterday's news. (distracted by a minor cyclone) And the first I read about it is on TYWKIWBI, go figure. My in-laws live in Bowen. Many people in the town are happy about the expansion and the jobs it will bring. But I never thought GBRMPA would allow it. Very disappointed. Wait for the protests.

    1. Apparently it's not a done deal yet - see the story at the link.

  2. How very sad to put all that marine life in peril for coal, of all things, the use of which imperils us all.

  3. Trust me Queenslanders and Austrlaians are very very angry about this, but is to be expected from our Primr Minister Tony Abbott who calls climate change "crap"

  4. A wave? At sea? Chance in a million. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3m5qxZm_JqM
    Seriously though the Australian government appears to be beholden to the billionaires in the country that swamp radio and television against any politician that stands up against them.

  5. Can't help noticing how you change your tone and become so harsh and ironic when you speak of environmental issues. Ionut here, by the way

  6. True. I suppose it's a coping mechanism for dealing with issues that frustrate me but which I have no power to change. The alternative would be to skip over the matter entirely, but that doesn't seem right either.

  7. Update FYI...http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/great-barrier-reef-spared-dredge-spoil-as-dawson-mp-george-christensen-changes-line/story-fnjfzs4b-1227039528996


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