Adani Facing Fines over Coal-Laden Water Spill in Australia

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  • As Westports to Bid for Sri Lanka’s Terminal Project

India-based mining company Adani is facing a potential compliance action after the company’s Abbot Point coal terminal released coal-laden water under a temporary emissions licence in early April 2017.

Namely, the Australian Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) would consider the compliance action against Adani Abbot Point Bulkcoal. The facility was authorised to release water under a temporary emissions licence (TEL) from 27 to 30 March, granted to assist with site water management during and after Cyclone Debbie which hit Australia’s coast in late March.

“The TEL authorised total suspended solids releases of up to 100 milligrams per litre. However, Adani Abbot Point Bulkcoal provided a report to EHP on April 24 advising it had a water discharge on March 30 from a licensed point on the northern side of the terminal, containing 806mg/L of sediment,” Jim Reeves, Director General, said.

Under its environmental authority, terminal management is required to monitor all water releases and report any non-compliance to EHP.

In this case, Adani Abbot Point Bulkcoal advised EHP that the non-compliant release from the licensed point on the northern side of the terminal did not enter the Caley Valley wetland, with further investigations by port management indicating that no coal-laden water entered any marine environment, Reeves informed.

“EHP took sand samples on the beach below the release point on April 20 to determine if there was coal present as a result of the water release, with results expected to be available by the week beginning May 8, 2017,” Reeves added.

DEHP informed that it will consider appropriate action in response to this non-compliance in accordance with its enforcement guidelines.

Additionally, EHP was continuing to investigate water discharges and possible environmental contamination from the Abbot Point coal handling facility. This follows aerial imagery provided to EHP by the State Disaster Coordination Centre in early April that suggested there was sediment-laden water flowing from the port into the wetland.

Penalties for corporations whose non-compliance with their environmental authorities or temporary emissions licences causes environmental harm, include fines of up to AUD 3.8 million if the non-compliance was wilful, or AUD 2.7 million if the non-compliance was unintentional, Reeves said.

Meanwhile, Malaysian port operator Westports Holdings Berhad has expressed interest to take part in a consortium bidding for Colombo Port’s new terminal in Sri Lanka.

Westports will jointly bid for the contract to build Colombo Port’s East Container Terminal (ECT) in the consortium of six companies led by Sri Lankan conglomerate Hayleys PLC.

In line with the master plan of Colombo Port Expansion Project, the terminal will have 1,200 meters of linear quay wall. Based on the estimation of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), the development of the entire terminal is expected to cost approximately USD 500 million.

The SLPA has developed so far a 600-meter quay wall with a 440-meter berthing facility.

According to the tender announced in 2016, the winner of the tender would provide the port facility with deep water berth and add capacity of 2.4 million TEU. In addition, leading consortia would develop the remaining 760 meters of deep water berth and the rest of the terminal as well as manage and operate the terminal.

The tender is expected to be closed by the end of this month, according to the Edge Markets.

World Maritime News 

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