Indian mining giant Adani’s plan to build one of the world’s largest coal mines in Australia moved closer to realisation on Tuesday after the Queensland state gave environmental approval to the 16.5 billion dollars controversy-hit project but with about 140 conditions.
Queensland state’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) said it has issued a final environmental authority (EA) for Adani’s Carmichael Mine project in the Galilee Basin.
The project is located near the fragile Great Barrier Reef.
The department said the conditions include nine provisions relating to the black-throated finch, an endangered species, as required by a court.
In a relief to the Adani Group, an Australian court in December rejected a bid to stall the project by Conservation group Coast and Country, saying the firm can go ahead if it agrees to some environmental measures. The environmental group had contended that the mine would affect groundwater, climate change and biodiversity, including black-throated finches.
“The EA application was vigorously assessed by the department and and acted on recommendations made by the Land Court,” the statement by the department said.
“EHP is confident the strict conditions placed on the EA, including extra requirements based on the Land Court’s recommendations, will ensure this mine will not pose an unacceptable risk to the environment and any potential impacts will be closely monitored,” it said.
The project has already secured clearance from the federal government.
Responding to the latest approval, Adani spokesperson said, “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 company spokesperson said.
“Progress on these approvals is crucial in ensuring the jobs and economic benefits from these projects can flow to regional Queensland at a time these opportunities are sorely needed,” the spokesperson said.
The Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Infrastructure project is located approximately 300 kilometres inland in remote central Queensland.
Adani’s plan to build one of the world’s largest coal mines in Australia has been hampered time and again.
A federal court in August last year had revoked the original approval due to a bureaucratic bungle over two vulnerable species — the yakka skink and the ornamental snake.
In October last year, the project got a new lease of life after the Australian government gave its re-approval but with 36 of the strictest conditions in Australian history amid environmental concerns.