The Australian Federal Government had given the final approval to the $15.5 billion Adani Carmichael coal project in Queensland, with several stringent conditions with regard to protecting ground water in the Galilee basin where the project is situated. The mine would yield 60 million tonnes of thermal coal per year, for 60 years, valued at $5 billion a year, providing over 7,500 local jobs. 36 strict conditions have been imposed to ensure environmental protection, as per environment minister Greg Hunt who gave the final approval to the project.
“The absolute strictest of conditions have been imposed to ensure the protection of the environment, with a specific focus on the protection of groundwater, I am pleased that we have been able to apply some of the strictest environment conditions in Australian history as part of this decision.” he said in a statement.
Several environmental groups, spearheaded by Greenpeace, have been opposing the project as it would involve building an over 300 kilometer railway line to Abbott Point port which is quite close to the environmentally endangered Great Barrier Reef. Greenpeace have opposed the approval and reminded that an Independent Expert Scientific Committee had advised against the project. Besides, the record of Adani group with regards to social responsibility has been very poor, argued the NGO. “Carmichael Mine is set to be one of the largest coal mines in the world and its environmental and climate footprint is equally immense,” said Greenpeace program director Ben Pearson, adding that the project would draw over 12 billion litres of water every year, severely affecting the water table of the region.
Hunt, the environment minister had explained that the government had included all the recommendations of the independent expert committee with regard to the implementation of the project before giving this approval. “At full export capacity, the project is expected to contribute almost $930 million to the Mackay region’s gross regional product and $2.97 billion to the Queensland economy each year for the next 60 years. It will generate an estimated 2,475 construction jobs and a further 3,920 jobs during the operations phase,” Hunt said in a statement announcing the decision.