PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) has called on the Queensland government to finalise the remaining approvals for Indian major Adani’s $16.5-billion Carmichael mine and rail project after the federal Environment Minister approved the groundwater management plan for the project.
Minister Melissa Price on Tuesday said that the approval was based on an independent assessment from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Geosciences Australia, which confirmed that the project met strict scientific requirements.
Adani has welcomed the approval of the groundwater management plan, with Adani Mining CEO Lucas Dow pointing out that the approval followed more than 18 months of consultation.
“The groundwater dependent ecosystems management plan and the groundwater management and monitoring plan detail all the activities we will undertake and safeguards we will implement to ensure that we meet the approval conditions for the mine relating to groundwater. This includes a network of more than 100 monitoring bores to track underground water levels.
“The plans will ensure we achieve sustainable environmental outcomes and we’re now looking forward to delivering the thousands of jobs our project will create for people in north and central Queensland,” Dow said.
He noted that in contrast, the Queensland government has continued to shift the goal posts when it comes to finalising the outstanding environmental management plans for the mine and is standing in the way of thousands of jobs for Queenslanders.
“It’s time the Queensland government gave us a fair go and stopped shifting the goal posts so we can get on with delivering these jobs.”
His call has been echoed by the MCA, which said that the state government approvals should take place as soon as possible so the mine can start providing highly paid, highly skilled jobs and supporting businesses across regional Queensland.
“Australia will benefit from thousands of new regional jobs and long-term investment in the mine and rail infrastructure in Queensland. Through mining taxes and royalties, the Carmichael mine will generate billions of dollars for taxpayers over decades to fund nurses, teachers, police, hospitals, roads and other services and infrastructure for Queensland families and communities,” said MCA CEO Tania Constable.
“The mine will also open up the North Galilee basin for further development – an exciting new phase in Australia’s rich history of mining exploration and development which has made our nation a global mining powerhouse.”
The Queensland Resources Council, meanwhile, warned that any politicisation of the approval processes for the Carmichael coal project cast doubt over all proposed projects, their planned investment and their promised jobs.
There is a pipeline of an estimated A$65-billion in resource projects in Queensland.
Adani is planning to develop a smaller opencut mine comparable to several other Queensland coal mines, and would ramp-up production to the planned 27.5-million tonnes a year over time.