The Queensland Government has deemed Adani’s Carmichael project a ‘critical infrastructure’ as part of its efforts to advance the mine’s development.
It is the first time this has happened in seven years, with the $21.7 billion project – including the combined mine, rail and associated water infrastructure – having its special ‘prescribed project’ status renewed and expanded to include its water infrastructure.
Natural resources and mines minister Anthony Lynham said the decision would mean less red tape for the proposed project.
“This step bundles together major elements of the project for the first time – the mine, the 389 kilometre rail line, and the water infrastructure, including a pipeline, pumping stations and a dam upgrade,” he said.
“It makes it more efficient to establish easements for infrastructure like the water pipeline and the rail, and expands the Coordinator-General’s power to ensure timely approvals.”
Lynham said since early last year there have been 22 Commonwealth, state, and local government approvals granted for the project. He added that it now has all the necessary primary approvals, as well as being granted the necessary mining leases.
“At a state level, the only key approvals remaining are water licenses and Adani is actively working on those with the Department of Natural Resources and Mines,” he said.
The QLD government threw its support of the mine earlier this year, supporting a motion that all state government approvals be provided to help create jobs in the region.
Last month the Federal Court dismissed Australian Conservation Foundation’s efforts to prevent the development of the mine.
Adani said attempts by activists to delay the project were “about stopping investment and jobs as part of a wider activist campaign against mining”, further indicating that the delays cost the state economy around $3 billion and more than 1600 jobs annually over the first ten years of the intended projects.
Construction of the project is set to begin in 2017.