Home >Companies >News >Australian court upholds approval for Adani’s Carmichael mine project

Adani Group cleared another legal hurdle after the Federal Court of Australia on Monday dismissed climate concerns surrounding Gautam Adani’s Carmichael coal mine project and upheld the government’s decision to appr-ove the controversial project.

The group plans to start construction by 2017 and start commercial production by 2019-2020, mining about 25 million tonnes of coal annually, a company official said, requesting anonymity.

The group, which has invested about $1.3 billion in the project so far, plans to put in an additional $3 billion over the next two-three years, he said.

“We have crossed all major legal hurdles so far. There are two more cases pending. They are related to judicial review of the project, questioning whether required procedures have been followed by the government while granting permission," the official said.

In November, environment activist group Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) had challenged in the federal court the approval given to Adani to excavate coal from the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

Adani said in a statement that Monday’s decision follows the Federal Court’s dismissal on 19 August of another legal challenge to the project. Consistent with earlier decisions of Queensland’s Land Court and the Federal Court affirming the approvals given to Adani Group, the Federal Court has determined that due process has been followed, Adani said.

At their core, these challenges have been about stopping investments and jobs as part of a wider activist campaign against mining, Adani said in its statement.

“A recent report by PwC quantified the cost of these delays as being some $3 billion to the economy and over 1,600 jobs annually over the first 10 years of the intended projects. In local communities, a state and a national economy crying out for growth, this represents a significant cost to the community, not just to Adani," the statement said.

ACF, represented by Environmental Defenders Office Qld (EDO Qld), had challenged the lawfulness of former environment minister Greg Hunt’s decision to issue an environmental approval to the project during a two-day judicial review in May.

The Adani Group had initiated the Carmichael coal project in 2010 with plans to develop a coal mine and a rail link with Abbot Point port, but the venture soon ran into opposition from environmentalists.

ACF, however, said on Monday said it will not give up its efforts to stop the project.

“If the Carmichael mine proceeds, its coal will create 4.7 billion tonnes of climate pollution over the proposed life of the mine, wiping out Australia’s efforts to reduce pollution and contributing to more frequent and severe bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef," said ACF’s chief executive officer Kelly O’Shanassy.

EDO Qld solicitor Sean Ryan said it will consider the decision and advise his client about the legal options.

Adani Enterprises won mining leases for its Carmichael coal project in 2010. In February 2016, the Adani Group secured the approval of the Queensland government for the project.

In December 2015, Australia allowed expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal in Queensland, which will enable shipping of fuel from mines in the Galilee Basin, including Adani’s Carmichael mine. The expansion, which will see 1.1 million cubic metres of material dredged near the Great Barrier Reef, was granted approval with 29 riders.

“Adani stands ready to deliver on its long term future with Queensland, pending the resolution of a small number of outstanding legal challenges. As the company has previously indicated, if those issues are finalised, construction can commence in 2017," the Adani Group said.

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