MELBOURNE Jan 31 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 approval clears the way for a major
expansion of the port of Abbot Point for Indian firms Adani
Enterprises and GVK Power and Infrastructure
and Australian billionaire miner Gina Rinehart.
Together they have $16 billion worth of coal projects in the
untapped, inland Galilee Basin.
"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 Great Barrier Reef
Marine Park Authority said.
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.