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Australia Coal Port Expansion Mandate Lapsed, Lend Lease Says

Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Lend Lease Group, Australia’s biggest listed property developer, won’t take part in a planned coal terminal expansion close to the Great Barrier Reef after a mandate for the project lapsed.

Lend Lease is no longer part of the AP-X expansion at the port of Abbot Point, partly due to “commercial drivers,” Chief Executive Officer Stephen McCann said today on a call with analysts. “There are a number of different competing projects and expansions up there so from our perspective the fact that it’s lapsed means we’re no longer involved.”

Haulage provider Aurizon Holdings Ltd. and Sydney-based Lend Lease won the right to develop an additional terminal at the Abbot Point coal port in Queensland state last year. A decision last month to allow dredging for the port in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is opposed by environmental groups.

“In any major project, we do go through a very rigorous process and we consider all the relevant aspects and we do a very rigorous due diligence and that includes environmental and other aspects,” McCann said on the call.

Aurizon, which holds 75 percent of the NorthHub Consortium, said it would “continue a dialog with government regarding the Abbot Point Expansion,” according to an e-mailed statement. The AP-X project was designed to provide users with “long-term secure access to export capacity,” Queensland’s department of state development, infrastructure and planning said in a 2012 statement.

There are separate expansion plans for two additional terminals at Abbot Point from India’s GVK Group and Adani Enterprises Ltd. Australia is the world’s second-biggest coal exporter.

Adani already operates Terminal 1, with a capacity of 50 million metric tons, exporting coal from three mines owned by Glencore Xstrata Plc and QCoal Pty.

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, last year withdrew from developing Terminal 2 amid a drive to focus spending on its most profitable projects. Falling coal prices have forced producers to cut staff, postpone projects and close loss-making mines.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elisabeth Behrmann in Sydney at ebehrmann1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Hobbs at ahobbs4@bloomberg.net

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