PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) has launched a further review of the groundwater management plan for Indian major Adani’s $16.5-billion Carmichael coal project.
The federal government in April approved the groundwater plan 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 CEO Lucas Dow said on Monday that advice provided by DES officials on Friday suggested that the department intended to renege on its February commitments to no further reviews, with the government requesting another round of information and assessment from the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia.
“DES has consistently said it will not pursue further reviews. However, they have gone back on their word once again. We are now facing the prospect of another torturous and never-ending management plan approval process like the one we have endured for the black-throated finch,” said Dow.
The state government rejected Adani’s management plan for the endangered black-throated finch, demanding a number of new commitments which Adani said stretched well beyond the conditions of the Environmental Authority that Adani was obligated to meet.
Dow said that the scope of the latest round of reviews of the groundwater plan had not been provided.
“The department’s processes, timing and decision-making have zero transparency. Trying to see what needs to be done to ensure that these management plans can be signed off is like trying to see through a brick wall, there is absolute zero transparency.
“If this latest request for further information and assessment was above board and in-line with the Carmichael project’s conditions, why is there a need for secrecy and non-disclosure,” Dow said.
He noted that considering the DES had already been reviewing the water management plans for more than two years, and across 11 versions of the plan, while having access to the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia’s assessments, the requirement for further information and delays at this point was not only extraordinary, but also an “injustice through process”.