Adani Mining has claimed the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) has gone back on its commitment to cease reviews regarding the Carmichael coal project’s Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan (GDEMP).
The DES has asked for another round of information and assessment from the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia – a delay tactic used to prevent construction of Carmichael starting, according to Adani chief executive officer Lucas Dow.
“DES has consistently said it would not pursue further reviews; however, they have gone back on their word once again,” Dow said.
“We are now facing (the) prospect of another tortuous and never-ending management plan approval process like the one we have endured for the Black-Throated Finch.”
Adani revealed that DES officials wouldn’t confirm the scope and nature of the requests and if they were limited to only assessing the Carmichael project’s environmental conditions.
This was described by an Adani press release as DES “engaging in a secretive and non-transparent additional review process.”
The federal government approved Adani’s GDEMP in April, following an eight-month assessment that included review and advice from the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia, which was shared with DES.
Adani claimed that earlier in the year the DES said it would rely on that same review process and information given to the federal government.
The department’s processes, timing and decision-making has left Dow increasingly frustrated, saying that they “have zero transparency.”
“Trying to see what needs to be done to ensure these management plans can be signed off is like trying to see through a brick wall – there is absolute zero transparency,” he said.
“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?”
Adani has called on the DES to provide it with the precise questions given to the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia while also confirming if it is initiating any other reviews.
DES responded to the claims by confirming it would not seek its own independent scientific review of Adani’s GDEMP and would instead rely on advice given by the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia to the Commonwealth Government.
The department said the delay in receiving the review of Adani’s GDEMP meant it required updated advice from the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia, which was not the version that was originally reviewed.
It further confirmed via a media release that “while there is no statutory timeframe for the GDEMP to be approved, DES has expressed urgency in receiving the advice from CSIRO and Geoscience Australia.”
Dow confirmed that Adani and himself would remain persistent throughout the process, despite the regulatory obstacles they are facing.
“We have jumped all their past hurdles and we will jump these ones as well, our courage and resolve is only strengthened with every hurdle put in our path,” he said.