Australia mine: Adani secures green permit3 min read . Updated: 03 Feb 2016, 12:56 AM IST
Queensland's department of environment and heritage protection has issued a final so-called environmental authority for Adani's project
Infrastructure conglomerate Adani Group, led by billionaire Gautam Adani, has secured the approval of the Queensland government for the $16.5 billion Carmichael mine project in the state’s Galilee Basin, clearing one more obstacle to start work on the coal mine, amid protests from environmental activists in Australia.
According to Queensland’s department of environment and heritage protection, it has issued a final so-called environmental authority for Adani’s project.
The group needs to secure funding for this project and a mining lease from the Queensland government.
In December, Australia had allowed expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal in Queensland, which will enable shipping of the fuel from mines in the Galilee Basin, including the Adani Group’s $16 billion Carmichael mine.
The latest approval will make the Abbot Point terminal one of the world’s largest coal ports.
The controversial expansion, which will see 1.1 million cu. m of material dredged near the Great Barrier Reef, was granted approval with 29 riders. The approval follows an Australian court spiking a green group’s attempt to block the Carmichael project, and recommending mining leases in October.
Adani is facing a number of problems in Australia.
Adani Mining Pty Ltd, a unit of the group, is aiming to develop the Carmichael coal mine, which is expected to yield 60 million tonnes of coal a year. The company is building a 189km railroad to transport the coal.
The project has been opposed by green groups. Adani claims the mine project will create 10,000 jobs and generate $22 billion in taxes and royalties.
On 15 October, the Australian government re-approved the Adani Group’s coal mine and rail project in accordance with the country’s environment laws, subject to 36 conditions. Australia’s environment minister Greg Hunt had then said that the approval is subject to “36 of the strictest conditions in Australian history".
The Carmichael coal mine and rail project is an open-cut and underground coal mine located approximately 300km inland in remote central Queensland.
Queensland’s Annastacia Palaszczuk Labor government had failed the public and the environment by granting the environmental authority for Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) said on Tuesday. “If it goes ahead, the Carmichael coal mine would create billions of tonnes of pollution, making climate change worse and irreversibly damaging the Great Barrier Reef," said ACF chief executive Kelly O’Shanassy.
ACF is challenging Hunt’s approval of the Carmichael project in a federal court case scheduled to be heard in Brisbane in May. ACF said it will argue that Hunt failed to consider whether the impact of climate pollution, resulting from burning the mine’s coal, would be inconsistent with Australia’s international obligations to protect the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.
“In addition to the climate concerns, experts fear the Carmichael project could push the Southern Black-throated Finch to extinction. And it is sadly ironic that the state government has granted its approval today, World Wetlands Day, as there are grave concerns about what the thirsty open-cut coal mine would do to the nearby Doongmabulla Springs," O’Shanassy said. “For endangered species, for outback Queensland’s water supply, for the Reef and for future generations—this mine must not be allowed to proceed."
An Adani spokesperson welcomed the move.
“The timely granting of an environmental authority was triggered by the decision of the Land Court of Queensland that the mine should proceed, subject to conditions. While a welcome development, it is now critical that the state government works actively with us and ensures no further delays can be made to final approvals such as the granting of a mining lease," the spokesperson said, adding, “Progress on these approvals is crucial in ensuring that the jobs and economic benefits from these projects can flow to regional Queensland at a time these opportunities are sorely needed."