The Queensland government is going ahead with (or, more hopefully, going through the motions of) the process for expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal. A Draft Environmental Impact Statement has just been released, and there is a call for comments here
My comment relates to the economic impact of the project. The estimated cost is nearly $60 million, which could otherwise be allocated to alternative, urgently needed infrastructure projects. This adverse impact is not discussed. The project mentions employment benefits, but these would also be realised if the funds were spent elsewhere.
Unlike alternative investments, the proposed Abbot Point expansion is unlikely to yield any benefits to offset the costs. This is because mining in the Galilee Basin is not commercial at existing coal prices. As a result all projects in the area have been effectively cancelled or mothballed. In particular, Adani’s Carmichael project has been shut down. All major contractors have been dismissed, and the main financial advisers, CBA and Standard Chartered, have ended their roles. Since most major international banks have already announced their refusal to fund the project and attempts to source funds from state-backed lenders such as the State Bank of India and the Korean Export-Import Bank have proved unavailing, there is no prospect of this project going ahead in the medium term.
Expenditure on the Abbot Point expansion, including the expenditure incurred in the EIS and tendering process, is a waste of public money.