The Queensland Government has passed new laws ordering all mines currently under development to obtain a groundwater licence, with the exemption of Adani’s Carmichael mine.
Under the laws mines in development that could have an impact on groundwater will be required to obtain an “associated water licence”.
However, Adani’s Carmichael mine has been exempted from the legislation that could have further delayed its development by one year, The Australian reports.
QLD environment minister Steven Miles moved an amendment this morning to provide more certainty for Adani’s development, according to the ABC.
The alteration means companies that have already undertaken an environmental impact statement (EIS) and the Land Court would still need water licence but would not be subjected to the public objection process.
“That particular project [Adani] has been through two very significant land court cases and so what we’ve said is if they can demonstrate that they have met the requirements of the water licence and all of those elements had been tested in previous Land Court hearings, then this water licence stage would not be appealable in the Land Court,” he said.
“It would still be subject to potential judicial review, but not a full Land Court challenge.”
This change has received backlash from the Opposition, particularly as it would aid the Carmichael mine but not New Hope’s Acland mine, which could face more delays.
Andrew Cripps, Opposition natural resources spokesperson, said there were no material differences between both projects, adding “something’s going on here that’s not being explained properly and the minister ought to do so”.
The Carmichael mine was recently upgraded to a ‘critical infrastructure’ as part of the state government’s plan to advance its development, following several legal challenges and approvals processes.