Adani coal development threatened by rare bird

Image: Adani.

Adani has labelled findings in a draft report that recommends against the Carmichael coal project in Queensland being developed because of its management plan for a rare bird as “false and inaccurate”.

The draft, released last week, reportedly suggests that the Carmichael development should not proceed until the Indian company rewrites its plan to manage the black-throated finch, which lives on the proposed mine site.

An Adani spokesperson said false and inaccurate statements included sections that indirectly contradict advice from the Queensland Government.

The statements even contained “unverified opinions regarding climate change and other projects in the Galilee Basin” that are outside the scope of the black-throated finch management plan, according to the company.

“The point of a management plan is to demonstrate how a business will meet the conditions of its Environmental Authority. This draft report has strayed so far beyond this requirement that the report is of no value,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

“The draft report represents nothing more than a shopping list of ideas and suggestions that do not correspond with the Environmental Authority conditions or the relevant legislative framework. It also demonstrates the lack of capability of the panel to assess such a management plan, when they have no idea of its purpose in practice.”

The recommendations of the draft report are potentially the latest obstacle that Adani will need to overcome to begin the broader construction of the Carmichael operation.

Adani launched roadworks for access to the Carmichael project despite delays in securing a key environmental approval from the state government last month.

After declaring the Galilee Basin project 100 per cent financed in late 2018, the company had expected to start construction of the mine and rail development during December.

Adani believes that if the Queensland Government accepts any part of the report that its Department of Environment’s work over the past 18 months is “at best, incompetent, and at worst, using purposeful delay tactics to slow the delivery of the Carmichael project”.

“We are now waiting to hear from the Department of Environment and Science as to their own feedback on the report. We are still waiting on advice from the Queensland Government on timing to finalise this plan,” the spokesperson continued.

“The Queensland Government keeps shifting the goal posts for Adani. Adani needs clarity on timing and process from the Queensland Government so it can get on with delivering thousands of jobs for regional Queenslanders who desperately need them. We are simply seeking a fair go.”

The Indian company has, however, never had stronger resolve to deliver thousands of jobs for regional Queenslanders despite the latest hurdle, the spokesperson added.

“The people of Queensland can rest assured that we are not going anywhere and we are in it for the long haul. We are determined to deliver the Carmichael project for the benefit of Queenslanders and in particular for our fellow regional Queenslanders,” the spokesperson said.

Adani updated its development plan for Carmichael in late 2018. The proposed project involves a self-funded investment of $2 billion for a smaller mine than the company had previously proposed.

The initial operation would have annual production of between 10–15 million tonnes of thermal coal.

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