Adani has cleared one of the major hurdles for its controversial Carmichael coal mine proposal, after the Queensland environment department approved its black-throated finch management plan.
The Conservative Party has always supported the development of the mine and is highly critical of the delaying tactics employed by the Queensland Labor government in its approval process.
The Australian reports, the state’s Coordinator-General Barry Broe confirmed the Queensland Department of Environment and Science had given the green light to Adani’s strategy to protect the endangered bird on its central Queensland mine site.
The first iteration of Adani’s finch management plan – which includes a commitment to create a 33,000ha conservation area on a cattle station owned by the company – was submitted to the state and federal governments in May 2017.
Adani has been pressing for the approvals from the department for months and last week Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk finally gave in to demands that she intervene, ordering high-level talks between the company, the department and the state’s Co-ordinator-General.
Ms Palaszczuk had said federal Labor’s drubbing in regional Queensland at the recent election – partly blamed on the state government’s stalling on Adani and an internal revolt by her regional MPs – delivered a “wake-up call” and prompted her to declare she was “fed up” with her own department’s processes.
Adani is now waiting for one more approval from the department, for its groundwater management plan. The department will make a decision by June 13, but is waiting for advice from the CSIRO and Geosciences Australia.
If the Indian mining conglomerate gets that green light, it says it will immediately begin construction on its $2bn coal mine and rail project in the nascent Galilee Basin, in central Queensland.
A spokesman for Queensland’s environment department said the Carmichael mine site was Australia’s most significant population of the endangered black-throated finch. The department approved the plan after Adani made extra concessions to protect the finch, the spokesman said.