Two major hurdles holding up Adani

Environmental approvals stalling Adani's Carmichael mine


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Adani said two state government approvals were the only thing stopping the mine's progress.

Adani said two state government approvals were the only thing stopping the mine's progress.

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Adani was critical of the lack of state government certainty.

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Two major regulatory hurdles stand in the way of Adani as the resources giant looks to kick off work at its controversial Carmichael coal mine. 

The state Department of Environment and Science is still investigating allegations Adani sunk non-compliant de-watering bores at the mine site.

A similar probe has already been dropped by the federal government, which found Adani had not breached Commonwealth law. 

The state environment department has confirmed it is also still yet to approve the mine's Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan, and the mine's plan for managing black-throated finch populations. 

Adani said these management plans were the only thing stopping the mine, and criticised the state government for a lack of clarity about the approval process. 

Groundwater management – the amount of water Adani uses for the mine - is a key concern for Queensland graziers who rely upon flows from the Galilee Basin. 

Adani caused a stir late last year when it announced it would plough ahead with work at the mine by financing the project itself. 

A state environment department spokesman said Adani still needed to obtain required approvals before it could start mining.  

"Statements by Adani that they now will be self-funded and can proceed are separate issues from the required approvals which Adani must attain, as is the case for every like mining proposal," the spokesman said. 

The spokesman said Adani's groundwater management plan would not be approved until it was updated. 

"Preliminary advice from CSIRO requires Adani to update the plan.

"[The department] continues to provide feedback to Adani to ensure that the [groundwater management plan] meets approval requirements, and will not continue to assess the [groundwater management plan] until an updated version is submitted."

Regarding the allegations of non-compliant de-watering bores at the mine site, the department said it would undertake a more thorough investigation that its federal counterparts. 

"The Queensland government is aware the federal government found Adani had not breached its conditions under Commonwealth law," the spokesman said. 

"DES is undertaking a more comprehensive investigation under separate state legislation, and has made several information requests to Adani, and has also carried out site inspections.

"If non-compliances are identified during the course of the investigation, DES can move to enforcement action."

Adani said it welcomed last year's investigation by the federal Department of Environment and Energy, which cleared the company of illegal activity concerning the bores. 

"As we stated then, we have and are currently, conducting Stage 1 project activities on site, which are permitted under our Environmental Authority and project approval conditions," a spokeswoman said. 

“We will continue to conduct our operations safely and in line with all Australian regulatory standards. 

"We’re also working cooperatively with the Queensland government on its investigation into these claims and we look forward to this being finalised."

Adani was also critical of the lack of certainty provided by the state government, saying it was delaying the creation of thousands of jobs. 

"Such certainty of timing and process for approvals has been forthcoming at the federal and local levels of government – however such clarity at the state level is missing.  

"Ultimately the management plan approvals are all that is preventing us from starting the mine and delivering thousands of jobs in the process.”  

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