Adani A Step Closer To Constructing Its Controversial Australian Coal Mine
Indian mining conglomerate Adani has taken a step closer to the construction of its controversial coal mine in Australia after the federal government gave a green light to the billion dollar project's groundwater management plans.
Adani group entered Australia in 2010 with the purchase of the greenfield Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland, and the Abbot Point port near Bowen in the north.
The massive coal mine in Queensland state has been a controversial topic, with the project expected to produce 2.3 billion tonnes of low-quality coal.
In addition to its impact on climate change, environmentalists have argued the mine could do serious damage to Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
Another major concern about the environmental impacts of the proposed mine has been that it would wipe out the most important habitat of the threatened black-throated finch.
Environmental Minister Melissa Price on Tuesday announced that she had approved the groundwater management plans submitted by the mining giant after The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and Geoscience Australia found they met scientific requirements.
''CSIRO and Geoscience Australia have independently assessed the groundwater management plans for the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Infrastructure project. Both CSIRO and Geoscience Australia have confirmed the revised plans meet strict scientific requirements,'' she said in a statement here.
Following this independent assessment and the Department of the Environment and Energy’s recommendation for approval, I have accepted the scientific advice and therefore approved the groundwater management plans for the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Infrastructure project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.Melissa Price, Environmental Minister, Australia
The project now requires further approvals from the Queensland government before the construction begins.
"To date, only 16 of 25 environmental plans have been finalised or approved by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments with a further nine to be finalised,'' the minister stated.
She said that the project must meet further stringent conditions of approval from the Commonwealth before it can begin producing coal. Price noted that the project was subject to the most rigorous approval process of any mining project in Australia.
Price also confirmed that while it was a commercial project, the Australian Government was not providing any financial support to the mine or to its rail project.
According to reports, there was an intense pressure to clear the project as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to call an election this weekend for May 18.
The Australian Conservation Foundation said the government's assessment has been subject to political interference and has warned that any approval may face a court challenge if rushed through before the election.
Carmichael would be the largest coal mine in Australian and one of the biggest in the world.
Adani Mining chief executive officer Lucas Dow welcomed the Commonwealth's decision, saying underground water levels would be tracked using more than 100 monitoring bores. "The measures outlined in the plans will ensure groundwater at the mine, and the ecosystems that depend on it, are protected," Dow said.