Indian mining giant Adani is joining mining magnates Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer in being allowed to mine for coal in Queensland’s Galilee Basin.
A fourth mine has been approved in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, with Indian mining giant Adani getting the nod to develop one of the world’s biggest coal mines.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt has placed 36 strict conditions on the coal and rail project “with a specific focus on the protection of groundwater”.
The Adani project will have six open cut pits and five underground mines.
“I am pleased that we have been able to apply some of the strictest environment conditions in Australian history as part of this decision,” Mr Hunt said.
But environmental consultant Tom Crothers, who previously managed environmental water allocation for the Queensland government, said approval for a fourth mining project in the Galilee Basin could threaten groundwater in the Great Artesian Basin.
“That’s equivalent to three-and-a-half Sydney Harbours,” he told AAP.
“Bear in mind, there’s potentially another five mines on top of this.”
Another mine in central Queensland would see another 750 gigalitres of water taken from the artesian basin, as four mines take 1770 gigalitres of water from the system, environmental reports have shown.
Adani’s project would have a resource value of $5 billion a year during its 60-year life, as Adani joins mining magnates Gina Rinehart and Clive Palmer in having a Galilee project.
In May, the Queensland government approved the project forecast to produce 60 million tonnes of thermal coal a year for export.
“It’s going to boost our economic growth and royalties will come back to this state for many, many years,” Premier Campbell Newman told reporters on Monday.
Adani’s $16.5 billion project is expected to create 2475 construction jobs as a 200-kilometre rail line is built to connect and develop its Carmichael Coal Mine, northwest of Clermont, to the controversial Abbot Point coal port, near the Great Barrier Reef.
Another 3920 jobs would remain during mine operation.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said the approval wouldn’t compromise “world-leading environmental standards”.
“Regional communities including Alpha, Clermont, Emerald, Bowen, Moranbah, Mackay, Rockhampton and Townsville are all expected to benefit from the development of the so-far untapped resources in the Galilee Basin,” he said.
But Greenpeace said Mr Hunt had “laid out the red carpet for a coal company with a shocking track record”.
In December, Mr Hunt said the government had imposed “some of the strictest conditions in Australian history” when it approved a controversial port dredging project at Abbot Point.
Four mines in Galilee Basin:
* Alpha Coal (GVK-Hancock)
* Kevin’s Corner (GVK-Hancock)
* Galilee Coal (Waratah Coal)
* Carmichael (Adani)
(Source: Queensland Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning)