Seismic testing at a planned Queensland coal mine should be suspended until threats to an endangered bird are assessed, Greenpeace says.
Greenpeace wants the federal government to stop a coal miner carrying out seismic surveys in Queensland’s Galilee Basin until threats to a rare bird are assessed.
The group claims India’s Adani Mining may have breached environmental laws by failing to seek testing approval in an area where an endangered black-throated finch lives.
Greenpeace spokeswoman Louise Matthiesson says seismic surveys at Adani’s planned Carmichael mine will likely involve clearing 4000 hectares of habitat.
“Greenpeace has expert scientific advice that the exploration work has the potential to have a significant impact on the finch,” she said.
Any activity that could adversely affect an endangered species must be referred to the federal environment department for assessment.
But a letter from Adani to Greenpeace, dated February 21, says an environmental firm had assessed the work to ensure all approvals were in place.
“The assessment has concluded that the proposed works do not require approval at the federal level,” the letter said.
Greenpeace is calling on federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt to suspend the testing and direct his department to assess what effect the surveys will have on the birds’ habitat.
A spokesman from Mr Hunt’s office said compliance officers are looking into Greenpeace’s allegation.
“There is no evidence at this point of time that would indicate a contravention of national environment law has occurred, however, inquiries are continuing,” he said in a statement, without saying when inquiries would likely be completed.
Adani’s planned Carmichael mine would extract up to 60 million tonnes of coal each year.
Comment has been sought from Adani.