Approval for Adani’s massive Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin has been delayed by the Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt who wants more time to assess the project.
Hunt is evaluating Adani’s plans to build the $16.5 billion project which will include an open-cut and underground coal mine as well as a 189 kilometre rail line, water supply infrastructure, a workers' accommodation village and airport.
A spokesperson for Hunt said the minister required more time to work through the huge volume of material submitted as part of the approvals process.
A final decision is now expected to be made by August 1.
At 10 billion tonnes, Carmichael is considered the largest single coal tenement in the world.
It is expected to create 2,500 jobs during construction and 3,900 permanent jobs when operation begins.
Speaking at a business lunch recently, Adani’s general manager for project and infrastructure, Ian Sedgman, said the company would soon look to hand out contracts for the development of the project.
Sedgman said the project “underpins economic prosperity for all Queenslanders”.
Greenpeace has called on Hunt to reject the new mine.
The group claims the expansion of Abbot Point coal terminal to cater for an additional 70 million tonnes of coal will destroy the Great Barrier Reef.
"This mine would result in the development of a vast new coal terminal at Abbot Point in the World Heritage Area which would have required dredging and dumping, and thousands of extra coal ships carving through the Reef every year," Greenpeace spokesman Ben Pearson said.