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Adani group gets final approval for coal mine project in Australia

Gautam Adani, chairman, Adani Group.

Gautam Adani, chairman, Adani Group.   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Queensland State authorities have approved its groundwater management plan

In a major development, Ahmedabad-based Adani group, with interests ranging from infrastructure to energy, has cleared its last regulatory hurdle to commence work on its ambitious but controversy-hit Carmichael coal mine project in Australia, with Queensland State authorities approving its groundwater management plan.

The final approval for the group’s long-delayed billion-dollar mega coal mine project came only weeks after a surprise election win of Australia’s pro-coal ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Following the election, Labor Party leader Bill Shorten, who had taken a strong stand against coal and mining, resigned after his party fared poorly in Queensland, especially in mining communities in the north of the State.

“Today, our remarkable journey of conviction, resilience and commitment in Australia enters a new phase. I’m thankful to the Queensland government and the Australian federal government for believing in Adani’s vision to fortify India’s energy security & create opportunities for Australians,” said Gautam Adani on Twitter after the final nod was granted by the local authorities in Australia.

Rigorous assessment

The go-ahead comes after Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science said it had approved Adani’s Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan following a rigorous assessment “based on the best available science.” The approval potentially paves the way for half a dozen new thermal coal mines to come on line in Australia by opening up Queensland’s remote Galilee basin with rail infrastructure to the coast 320 km away at Abbot Point.

The approval states that the plan complies with all regulatory conditions set by the Australian and State governments, bringing to close a two-year process of rigorous scientific inquiry, review and approval. This includes relevant reviews by Australia’s pre-eminent scientific organisations CSIRO and Geoscience Australia.

“The finalisation of the GDEMP [Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan] 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, Adani Australia’s 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,” a press release issued by the Adani group stated.

Two stumbling blocks

It said that after the go-ahead, preparatory activities such as finalising contracts, mobilising equipment, recruitment and completing inductions will continue.

These preparatory activities will be followed by construction activities, including fencing, bridge and road upgrades, water management and civil earthworks, on the mine site.

Earlier, on May 31, the first approval came from the Queensland State government to protect the endangered black-throated finch bird population as part of its crucial environmental plan at the site of its mine project.

The finch management plan and the groundwater plan were the two persisting stumbling blocks on the path of the company before it began work on the largest coal mine project in Australia.

(With agency inputs)

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 3:50:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/adani-group-gets-final-approval-for-coal-mine-project-in-australia/article27896654.ece

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