Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price has given the green light to the controversial Adani coal mine project, after both the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia confirmed the revised plans meet the strict scientific requirements.
“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,” Minister Price said.
The Carmichael Coal Mine would be the largest mine in Australia and possibly the world, and is expected to produce 2.3 billion tonnes of coal over 60 years with majority of the coal to be exported to India.
The project has been heavily opposed due its expected environmental impact on the Great Barrier Reef, the site’s groundwater, and its large carbon emissions.
The project now requires further approval from the Queensland Government prior to commencing construction. To date, only 16 of the 25 environmental plans have been finalised or approved by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments with a further nine to be finalised.
It must meet further stringent conditions of approval from the Commonwealth before it can begin producing coal.
“We welcome the Minister for the Environment’s approval of the groundwater management plans for the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Infrastructure project,” the CEO of Adani Mining, Lucas Dow, said.
“It’s time the Queensland Government gave us a fair go and stopped shifting the goalposts so we can get on with delivering these jobs.”
As the project is commercial, it will not receive any financial support from the Federal Government.
Queensland Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch has already flagged her own concerns with the project, and the most recent approvals from the Federal Government.
“I am very concerned that Barnaby Joyce’s and Matt Canavan’s political campaign reeks of political interference, and may have compromised the integrity of the decision making process,” Queensland Minister, Leeanne Enoch, said.
“Queensland decisions will be made by the environmental regulator, free from political interference.”