Adani gets the green light

June 13, 2019 Mining Editor

Adani has finally received a green light on its groundwater management plan from the Queensland Government.

In a statement released today, the Queensland Department of Environment and Science said its decision had been based on a “rigorous” assessment.

“Adani submitted its most recent version of the plan, addressing the department’s feedback, yesterday,” the department said.

“The (plan’s) assessment has been rigorous and based on the best available science.”

The department said it was satisfied Adani had identified the source of the main aquifer of the Doongmabulla Springs Complex as the Clematis Sandstone.

A fight still ahead according to Green groups

Not all are convinced. While Adani has welcomed the decision, there are some negative vibes circulating particularly from Green groups who say they’ll challenge the Queensland Government decision in court. Queensland Greens MP Michael Berkman, a former environmental lawyer, said the fight was not over.

“There is a huge and growing movement of people who will fight this project right to the end,” he said.

If Adani thinks that they’re going to get a free ride from this point, they’ve got another thing coming.
“These are certainly decisions that are open to judicial review … I think there is a real prospect that we will see groups bring legal challenges.”

Queensland Greens Senator Larissa Waters said the mine was subject to a “dodgy process that’s been massively politicised”.

“I expect that there will be several court challenges launched, against not only the finch plan, but also the groundwater management plan, and the course we’ve seen overnight that there’s likely to be another challenge to the pipeline approval process,” she said.



Greenpeace appalled

“This decision will be remembered as an infamous failure of good governance of our precious country. Coal is the number one driver of the climate crisis in Australia, which is exacerbating droughts all over the country.”

“As droughts become worse and more intense from climate change, the Queensland Government’s approval of Adani‘s plan to let its coal mine suck ancient water sources dry is a slap in the face of common sense.”
The approval came in spite of a scathing assessment released earlier this week by Australia’s top water scientists warning that Adani‘s plan could cause the ancient Doongmabulla Springs to stop flowing permanently, driving surrounding wetlands to extinction.
“The advance of Adani‘s flawed groundwater management plan through the approval process only shows that the approval process is broken and not fit for purpose.”
“All too often in this country have we seen the terrible destruction that can happen as a result of poor water management decisions such as the recent devastation in the Murray Darling Basin.”
Adani‘s Carmichael project is an instrument of destruction and climate disaster that the Australian legal and regulatory system isn’t designed to see for what it is.”
“We are in the midst of the climate emergency, the extinction crisis and a water crisis. By giving this groundwater management plan the go-ahead, the system is acting to legitimise the madness.”

University experts beside themselves

Experts from Flinders University, RMIT, Monash and Latrobe universities say their report,  ‘Deficiencies in the scientific assessment of the Carmichael Mine impacts to the Doongmabulla Springs’ – which was reviewed by the Queensland Government – highlights problems with Adani’s own claims that the springs are safeguarded by “an impervious layer, restricting water from flowing between the underground aquifers”.

“Adani has not properly examined the link between the mine’s groundwater drawdown and impacts to the Doongmabulla Springs, which is a fundamental requirement of the Carmichael mine’s approvals,” says Flinders University Professor of Hydrogeology Adrian Werner, a founding member of National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training.<

Instead, Professor Werner, with Flinders Associate Professor Andy Love, Dr Eddie Banks and Dr Dylan Irvine – with Associate Professor Matthew Currell from RMIT University, Professor Ian Cartwright from Monash University and Associate Professor John Webb from Latrobe warn the springs face a “plausible threat of extinction’.

“Six years of advice from experts that the science is flawed does not seem to have overcome critical shortcomings with the science that have persisted despite several iterations of Adani’s environmental management plans,” says Professor Werner.

Adani welcomes the final approval

Lucas Dow, CEO Adani Mining  “Adani Mining received advice today from the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Science that the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Management Plan (GDEMP) has been finalised and approved.

“This is confirmation the plan complies with all regulatory conditions set by the Australian and State Governments, bringing to a close a two-year process of rigorous scientific inquiry, review and approvals. This includes relevant reviews by Australia’s pre-eminent scientific organisations CSIRO and Geoscience Australia.

“The finalisation of the GDEMP and Black-throated Finch Management Plan paves the way for construction to commence on the Carmichael Project and the delivery of much needed jobs for regional Queenslanders.

“Moving forward, our priority is ensuring the safety of everyone who works on the project and that all construction activity meets the strict environmental requirements we have agreed to meet in our management plans and approvals.

Adani says over the forthcoming days, preparatory activities such as finalising contracts, mobilising equipment, recruitment and completing inductions will continue. These preparatory actions will enable us to then start construction activities including fencing, bridge and road upgrades, water management and civil earthworks on the mine site. The level of construction activity will then steadily increase over the coming weeks.

“The project will deliver 1,500 direct and 6,750 indirect jobs during ramp up and construction, with Rockhampton and Townsville the primary hubs for employment. The Whitsunday, Isaac, Central Highlands, Mackay, Charters Towers and Gladstone regions will also benefit from work packages and employment opportunities.

“Throughout the past eight years regional Queenslanders have been beside us every step of the way and we thank them for their ongoing support. We’re ready to start work on the Carmichael Project and deliver the jobs these regions so badly need.”

AI Group thankful for sanity

“It is pleasing to see that sanity has finally prevailed in the decision-making process on the Adani mine,” Australian Industry Group Queensland Head Shane Rodgers said today.

“Ultimately there is nothing particularly special about the Adani proposal. It is an application to establish a mine in a state with a long history of mining and a heavy reliance on mining royalties to balance its books and support living standards. Adani deserved to be treated like any other company in these circumstances.

“Aside from the merits of the project itself, this issue was being watched carefully by business and investors in Australia and overseas as a case study on the transparency and consistency of decision-making in Queensland. Investors in the state need to be certain that their investment is welcome here and there is a level playing field for everyone.

“Over time the energy mix will change, as will mining economics. In the meantime, we need to make rational, timely decisions that support the investment climate in the state. We cannot let the extremes of philosophical discussion derail a sensible approach to transitioning industry in a way that supports the livelihoods of families and addresses important environment and climate change issues,” Mr Rodgers said.

Read more of What’s NEW in mining

Previous Article
NSW mining embraces for statewide blitz on safety
NSW mining embraces for statewide blitz on safety

The NSW mining industry will come under increased scrutiny next week after the NSW regulator announced a bl...

Next Article
Pike River Update | Work progresses towards beyond the 170m seal
Pike River Update | Work progresses towards beyond the 170m seal

In the most recent Pike River Update, AMSJ has learned that the PRRA team together with a range of industry...