The Queensland state government has approved three leases that will allow Indian company Adani to build an enormous coal mine in Australia. But the decision to grant the leases to the Carmichael mine has dismayed environmentalists who say it poses a risk to the Great Barrier Reef. The project is expected to cost as much as A 21.7b ( 16.6b; 11.7b) The Adani project also faces legal challenges from environmental and traditional owner groups. The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) is challenging federal approvals for the mine in the federal court in a case that will be heard in May.
Australia's Queensland state government reportedly granted approval to India's Adani Enterprises Ltd. to proceed with its proposed 10 billion Australian dollars ( 7.7 billion) Carmichael coal project in the Galilee Basin, local media reported. The proposed thermal coal mine, when functional, would Australia's largest coal mine. Mining leases have been hard to come by for Adani which has worked to address concerns of environmental groups since work started on the project five years ago. Environmentalists continue to fight Adani's project on numerous fronts including loss of habitat for indigenous fauna due to port dredging and shipping, as well as climate change caused by using coal from the mine. Two legal challenges to the project are also currently before courts, according to Reuters.
Indian billionaire Gautam Adani has given the "green light" to the Carmichael mine and rail project, but it will still hinge on its Australian arm, Adani Mining, gaining bank backing for the contentious venture. Adani's top executive in Australia, Jeyakumar Janakaraj, took a dig at "activists who sit in creature comfort and criticise us" while trumpeting the decision to invest in Australia's largest proposed coalmine. The company is yet to secure its bid for a $900m infrastructure loan from the federal government for a railway that would help other miners open up Queensland's Galilee Basin. Adani said the "final investment decision" by Adani Mining's Indian parent marked "the official start of one of the largest single infrastructure – and job creating – developments in Australia's recent history". Janakaraj, the chief executive of Adani Mining said the company was delivering on its promise to "address power poverty for hundreds of millions in India and unacceptably high unemployment in regional Queensland".
To dig or not to dig? The Queensland government has issued controversial licences that allow the development of Australia's largest coal mine. Issued on Sunday by Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, the three licences would permit the Indian-based mining company Adani to extract coal from the planned Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin at the heart of the state. As part of the plan, which would see huge exports of coal to India, the port at Abbot Point adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef would be expanded to accommodate the extra traffic. This would potentially release plumes of soil and debris over the reef, causing damage to its ecosystem.
The Queensland government has reportedly offered Adani a royalties pause worth up to $320m as the company decides whether to proceed with its Carmichael mine project. The deal, in which Adani would pay a discounted $2m a year on exported coal in the mine's early years, could be signed this week and has concerned some senior Labor figures, the ABC has reported. Guardian Australia understands the balance of the deferred royalties would become due in later years. The premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, whose government in its last election campaign vowed not to back Adani's rail or port project with taxpayer funds, would not confirm or deny the deal, the ABC said. But Palaszczuk, who along with the treasurer, Curtis Pitt, in negotiations reportedly rebuffed a bid by Adani to pay no royalties in the mine's early phase, said the project was "vital for regional jobs".