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Australian court revokes environmental nod for Adani's $ 16-bn coal mine project

File picture shows Gautam Adani, Chairman and Founder, Adani Group with Australia's Investment Minster Andrew Robb during the India-Australia CEOs Forum Meeting, in New Delhi recently. Photo: V. Sudershan   | Photo Credit: V_Sudershan

Australia's Federal court on Wednesday overturned the government environmental approval for Adani Group’s $ 16 billion Carmichael coal mine.

"With the consent of the parties, the Federal Court has formally set aside the approval of the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project," the Environment Department said in a statement.

Adani took over the Carmichael coal project in 2010 with plans to develop a coal mine, a connecting rail link and the Abbot Point port to transport the coal to India. The under construction mine is one of the biggest in the world and has been facing opposition from environmentalists, who claimed it to be a threat to the Great Barrier Reef, from the start.

The department said it followed standard practice when preparing its advise to Environment Minister Greg Hunt on the issue, however, there was a possibility that the advice "should have been provided in a particular manner".

"This is a technical, administrative matter and to remove this doubt, the department has advised that the decision should be reconsidered," it said. "Reconsidering the decision does not require revisiting the entire approval process," it added.

It said it expected it would take six to eight weeks to prepare its new advice and supporting documentation and for the Minister to reconsider his decision on the mine.

The company said it is regrettable that a technical legal error from the Federal Environment Department has exposed the approval to an adverse decision.

"Adani will await the Minister and his department’s timely reconsideration of its approval application under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act," a company spokesperson said.

The company project is in the fifth year of development and approvals. The spokesperson said the need to finalise these approvals and timelines is critical so "Adani and the community can realise the benefits associated with its investments to date including 10,000 jobs and $22 billion in taxes and royalties to be reinvested back into the community."

For the past six to 12 months, Adani has maintained a level of investment and project timelines based on anticipated approvals timelines and milestones, the company said, adding "As a result of changes to a range of approvals over that time it’s necessary our timelines and budget reflect those changes."

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 3:15:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/australia-federal-court-revokes-environmental-nod-for-adanis-16bn-coal-mine-project/article7502221.ece

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