Carmichael achieves Federal environmental approval

The Federal government has granted environmental approval for the Galilee Basin Carmichael coal mine, but developer Adani still needs to find $16 billion in funding for the project, as well as secure a mining licence in Queensland.

The company will not be able to gain state approval for a mining licence until it has shown proof of finances for the project.

A spokesman for Adani said the company wanted the Queensland Government to assist with a speedy licence approval.

"The timely granting of an environmental authority was triggered by the decision of the Land Court of Queensland that the mine should proceed, subject to conditions," he said.

"While a welcome development, it is now critical that the state government works actively with us and ensures no further delays can be made to final approvals such as the granting of a mining lease.

"Progress on these approvals is crucial in ensuring the jobs and economic benefits from these projects can flow to regional Queensland at a time these opportunities are sorely needed."

According to the office of Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham, there are several statutory obligations which must be fulfilled to enable consideration of the mining licence, which include finalisation of compensation agreements with landholders, and compensation for local government in relation to affected road reserves.

The Federal environment department issued 140 strict conditions yesterday, nine of which are related to the protection of the endangered black-throated finch, however environmental groups have again voiced their displeasure with the decision.

At present there are two court cases still in progress against Adani, one by the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) traditional owners   and a second by the Australian Conservation Foundation.

Last year the Queensland Land Court found that Adani had exaggerated the economic benefits of the Carmichael mine, in terms of job creation and royalty payments to the government.

After Adani’s promotion of the new mine’s capability to create 10,000 jobs and $22 billion in royalties, it was Adani’s own expert witness Jerome Fahrer who revealed the project would not make anywhere near the quoted figures for job creation.

"Dr Fahrer's evidence, which I have accepted, was that the Carmichael Coal and Rail Project will increase average annual employment by 1206 fte [full time equivalent] jobs in Queensland and 1,464 fte jobs in Australia," Queensland Land Court president Carmel MacDonald said.

MacDonald said this was not enough reason for her to rule that the project should not proceed.

The Carmichael mine, if it does proceed, will be one of the biggest open cut coal mines in the world, covering a land area similar in size to metropolitan Sydney and the western suburbs.

Last year Adani chairman Gautam Adani met personally with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to request the introduction of new laws which would prohibit activist groups from seeking judicial review of environmental approvals.