Australia shows green light to Adani for controversial coal mine

Indian conglomerate Adani is set to start construction on the controversial Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, after Australia’s government provided final federal approval for the large-scale project.

Plans for the mine – located in Queensland’s Galilee Basin – were first laid out almost a decade ago, but progress on the project has been stunted by a series of environmental complaints along with heated anti-coal protests.

However, state officials endorsed Adani’s plan for groundwater management after several revisions were made to satisfy environmental requirements. Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the approvals had been ‘rigorous’.

While Adani is free to start construction of the mine, the company must wait for further approvals before it can begin extracting underground coal. The mine could produce up to 60 million tonnes of thermal coal per year.

After initially promising that the project would employ 10,000 people, Adani recently reduced this figure to 1,500 direct and 6,750 indirect jobs, after scaling down the Carmichael Mine.

The approval of the project could pave the way for the development of six additional mines in the Galilee Basin, which could harm the ecosystem of the nearby Great Barrier Reef, according to environmental campaigners.

“As custodians of the world’s greatest coral reef system, Queensland and Australia has to lead by example and show there’s a bright future for everybody that’s beyond coal,” said Shani Tager, a spokeswoman for the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

“Instead, they’ve approved a new fossil fuel project which will put more pressure on our reef.”