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Hopes Remain For Port Expansion

Whitsunday Mayor Mike Brunker says he is surprised by Rio Tinto’s decision to pull out of expansion plans for a north Queensland coal terminal. The company announced over the weekend it would not be taking part in the plan to increase capacity at the Abbot Point terminal near Bowen, due to changes in the economic climate.

Last month, the Federal Government delayed a decision on the project for six months. Councillor Brunker says Rio Tinto’s decision does not spell the end of the project. It would make Abbot Point the biggest coal port in the world, so some more might drop off, he said.

I think the key is the Galilee Basin and if the Galilee Basin does not go ahead, well you could wrap the whole show up. I am sure that the Hancock Mining and Adanis and all of those companies, they need the coal themselves, which is a great comfort to me.

Cr Brunker says the Federal Government’s decision has created uncertainty. It just scares off the investors, it makes them a bit jittery, he said. That is probably why we need to get down to, Federal Minister, Tony Burke and ask him to come and have a look at Abbot Point and just show him what a decision like he has made is, causing, a lack of confidence in investment and business.

Hopefully we can get over this current delay in the approvals processing.