Indian mining giant Adani today said it plans to start construction of a 21.7 billion dollar Carmichael coal mine project in Australia in 2017 after years of legal delays over environmental approvals.
“The company is moving ahead, having already invested more than 3.3 billion dollar to date, and still proposes to start the construction stage in the third quarter of 2017,” the company’s spokesperson said, but added that the uncertainty continued in relation to the Queensland Government’s proposed water legislation.
“Adani has already complied with existing legislation,” he said.
“There is also the outstanding legal challenges to decisions and approvals already granted by both the Commonwealth and State governments,” he added.
Adani’s efforts to build one of the world’s largest coal mine project in Australia’s Queensland state has been hampered time and again since its launch six years ago.
A federal court in August last year had revoked the original approval due to environmental concerns. In October last year, the project got a new lease of life after the Australian government gave its re-approval.
Earlier this month, the Queensland Government announced invoking special powers to help progress the Adani’s project by giving it special ‘prescribed project status’.
Adani’s latest comments came as Queensland-based regional leaders strongly demanded the state and federal governments to clear the project without any further delays.
In an open letter published in major newspapers around the state today, several Mayors and business leaders said, “Its time to get Adani’s Galilee projects going – no more red tape, no more delays.”
“We can’t afford new roadblocks or delays including new water legislation that activists can exploit in new court appeals to kill this project,” the letter said.
“With six years of multiple approval processes and multiple court reviews, this project has the most stringent environment conditions ever. That includes detailed water modelling and coordinator -General and federal approvals that have been reviewed and upheld by government,” the letter said.
“Enough is enough. Anything more at this late stage in approvals is just red tape and duplication,” it noted.
Over a dozen signatories of this letter include Rockhampton Regional Council’s Mayor Margaret Strelow, Whitsunday regional Council Mayor Andrew Wilcox, Bowen Basin Mining club director Jodie Currie, Mineral Council of Australia CEO Brendan Pearson, Queensland Resources Council CEO Michael Roche and Adani Australia CEO J Janakraj.
Adani spokesperson said, “Adani welcomes the support of the local communities that will directly benefit from the Carmichael mine and associated projects through jobs.” “The open letter is about insuring that there are no more delays,” Mayor of Townsville Jenny Hill, who is one the signatory of the letter said.
Meanwhile, reacting sharply to the letter, the environmentalist group Mackay Conservation Group coordinator said, “Adani can splash all the money around it likes, but at the end of the day the mine must stand on its own two feet, not be rushed through governments bullied into action and acting against the best interest of Queensland locals and our precious environment.”