Australian Government re-approved Carmichael Coal Mine Project to be built by Adani Group

The mine drew a significant controversy due to its potential impact on the Great Barrier Reef, groundwater at its site and its carbon emissions.

Oct 16, 2015 11:17 IST
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The Federal Government of Australia on 15 October 2015 gave its nod to Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project, one of the world’s largest coal projects, backed by Adani Group.

However, the approval granted is subject to 36 of the strictest conditions in Australian history.

Conditions imposed on Adani

• Implement advice from Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development.

• Protect and improve 31000 hectares of southern black-throated finch habitat.

• Fund 1 million Australian dollars for a research to improve conservation of threatened species over 10 years.

• Protect Doongmabulla Springs through monitoring of groundwater and triggers to enforce limits.

Why the mine fetched controversy?

• The mine drew a significant controversy due to its potential impact on the Great Barrier Reef, which is stretched over 1500 miles along the eastern Queensland coast and covers an area the size of Great Britain, Switzerland and the Netherlands combined. The barrier nurtures 1500 different species of fish, 400 species of coral, 4000 species of mollusc and hundreds of bird species.

• The mine is also said to have an impact over groundwater systems at its site. The company has applied for a water license to extract up to 12.5 gallons per year from the Belyando River for use at the mine. The mine will also utilize groundwater that flows to the surface during the process of dewatering the open cut pits and underground mines.

• The mine will also emit 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over 60 years. The burning of coal will also produce an estimated 130 m tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

• The site is home to a number of endangered species. The main concern is site’s adverse effects on two vulnerable animal species, namely the humble Yakka Skink - a secretive lizard known to hide under rocks and inside hollow logs - and the Ornamental Snake.

The timeline

• The Carmichael project was first approved by Queensland’s Coordinator-General on 8 May 2014.

• Originally, the operational life was proposed for 150 years, which is now reduced to 60 years.

• On the 29 July 2014, Greg Hunt, federal Minister for Environment, gave his green signal for the mine to proceed.

• On 5 August 2015, the federal Department of Environment and Adani Group signed consent orders in the Federal Court to set aside approval of the project.

• The July 2014 federal approval of the Carmichael project was challenged by Mackay Conservation Group in January 2015 under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

• In August 2015, the project was temporarily blocked by the Federal Court due to environmental concerns.

About Carmichael Coal Mine Project

The Carmichael coal mine is a thermal coal mine in the north of the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland, Australia. First proposed in 2010, the entire project will be built by Adani Mining, a wholly owned subsidiary of India's Adani Group, with an investment of approximately 16.5 billion Australian dollars.

The project will excavate and transport about 60 million tonnes of coal a year for export, mostly to India, for 60 years.

The mine will cover an area seven times the size of Sydney Harbour. As per the plan, the mining will be conducted by both open-cut and underground methods.

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