Australia allows India's Adani Group to start construction at the Carmichael mine

  • Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science gave a go ahead for Adanis to start construction at the Carmichael coal mines.
  • The approval has been termed as bad news by environmental groups.
After a decade long battle, Gujarat-based Adani Group finally won the rights to develop its Charmichael coal mine in Queensland, Australia.

The controversial coal mine became a hotbed for climate change concerns. But today, Adani received a go-ahead from Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science (DES).

The approval was holding up the billionaire Gautam Adani-led group from kickstarting construction at the mine. The project to develop the mine also involves building a railway line which will connect the mine to Abbot Point port, aiding exports. This infrastructure is estimated to cost around $3.3 billion.

However, there were concerns that the construction would have an adverse impact on the groundwater table. Added to that, the endangered finch bird which is native to the region, could also be affected, according to environmental groups.

DES has been reviewing Adani’s groundwater management plan for over two years. Eminent scientific bodies like CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) and Geoscience Australia are among those which conducted reviews of the project’s groundwater management plan.

Adani acquired the mines in 2010 and they were expected to produce 8-10 million tonnes of thermal coal a year. This coal can be used to generate electricity, though the quality of coal has been described as ‘low’ with high ash content.

Not only was the coal mine acquisition controversial due to its claimed economic benefits and financial viability; it also ran into an environmental quagmire.

The coal basin is located in a pristine area, and this approval was opposed by green groups who believe that it can affect the Great Barrier Reef. It is also believed to deplete the groundwater at its site and the carbon emissions will not help the delicate balance of the area either. The approval has been described as “bad news” by the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
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