Adani gets nod on water plan

Adani has won the final approval it needs to construct its new coal mine in central Queensland.

The approval comes after former Labor leader Bill Shorten’s refusal to endorse the mine saw the party suffer a massive swing against them at the federal election. 

Queensland’s environment department has signed off on the company’s plan to manage groundwater on and around its Galilee basin mine site.

Adani promised an immediate start to construction once the last approval was in hand.

There was an electoral backlash in central Queensland against Labor for not approving the Adani mine . The final straw was a convoy of Greens through the region (above)

There was an electoral backlash in central Queensland against Labor for not approving the Adani mine . The final straw was a convoy of Greens through the region (above) 

Coal communities in central and north Queensland turned savagely on Labor at the election over its mixed messages on the Adani coal mine in the Galilee Basin

Coal communities in central and north Queensland turned savagely on Labor at the election over its mixed messages on the Adani coal mine in the Galilee Basin

In a statement, the environment department said it had approved the most recent version of the plan, which Adani submitted just a day ago.

‘Adani submitted its most recent version of the plan, addressing the department’s feedback, yesterday,’ the department said.

‘The (plan’s) assessment has been rigorous and based on the best available science.’

The approval commits Adani to additional measures to safeguard and monitor water sources.

Some water experts claim Adani has grossly underestimated the mine’s impacts on underground, and fear the effects of its permit to pump water out of the mine to allow for the safe extraction of coal.

Hydrologists from four Australian universities issued a joint report earlier this week, saying Adani’s water science was ‘severely flawed’.

They warned the mine could have a such a dramatic effect on groundwater levels that the ancient Doongmabulla Springs Complex, 8km from the edge of Adani’s mining lease, could permanently dry up.

That would spell death for the plant and animal species that rely on the springs for survival, one of those experts, Flinders University hydrogeology professor Adrian Werner said.

Prof Werner also warned of dire consequences for the Carmichael River which flows through the mine site, saying it would be cut off from its flood plain and could be robbed of groundwater that keeps the river flowing for much of the year.

Before Thursday’s decision, a former state government water chief said Adani’s plan would have irrefutable consequences for underground water sources in an area that’s heavily dependent on them.

The approval comes after former Labor leader Bill Shorten's refusal to endorse the mine saw the party suffer a massive swing against them at the federal election

The approval comes after former Labor leader Bill Shorten’s refusal to endorse the mine saw the party suffer a massive swing against them at the federal election 

The mine at Galilee Basin drew strong backlash from environmental groups during its approval process

The mine at Galilee Basin drew strong backlash from environmental groups during its approval process  

Tom Crothers is a former general manager for water allocation and planning in the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management.

Mr Crothers, who’s now a water policy consultant, said the state government had no clue what the cumulative impact would be if the Adani mine and eight others planned for the Galilee basin went ahead.

‘We’re looking at extraction of four Sydney Harbours out of underground systems. That’s a huge amount of water,’ he told ABC radio.

‘We see politicians put their hands on their hearts and tell Queenslanders that we’re managing our groundwater resources sustainably.’They don’t know … the Queensland government doesn’t have a clue what’s happening in terms of how underground water is being managed.’

Adani has won the final approval it needs to construct its new coal mine in central Queensland after Bill Shorten's refusal to endorse the mine saw the party suffer a massive swing against them at the federal election

Adani has won the final approval it needs to construct its new coal mine in central Queensland after Bill Shorten’s refusal to endorse the mine saw the party suffer a massive swing against them at the federal election

The long fight to approve the mine 

2010:

Adani begins the approval process to establish two new mines and a rail line in the Galilee Basin.

Premier Anna Bligh declares it a ‘significant project’ which could generate more than 11,000 jobs.

2014:

May: Queensland’s coordinator-general approves the $16.5 billion mine and rail project subject to 190 conditions. 

July: Mr Hunt approves Adani’s proposal.

2015:

August: Federal Court rules in favour of a legal challenge by Mackay Conservation Group which says then Environment Minister Greg Hunt failed to take into account advice on the threatened reptiles. 

October: The federal government re-approves mine subject to ’36 of the strictest conditions in Australian history’.

2016:

April: Queensland approves mining leases for project.

December: Queensland and federal governments give final approvals to a rail project associated with the mine.

2017:

July: Queensland rules out financial support for the Adani mine amid rumours the company is having trouble raising funds.

July: Experts warn the mine could put the endangered southern black-throated finch on a fast-track to extinction.

August: Abbot Point coal facility fined for releasing sediment-laden water during Cyclone Debbie.

September: Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection finds stormwater releases during Cyclone Debbie didn’t widely contaminate the Caley Valley Wetlands.

October: An Indian former environment minister criticises Australia’s decision to approve Adani’s coal mine saying its environmental track record “leaves a lot to be desired”.

December: Premier Palaszczuk vetos a billion-dollar federal government loan to Adani for the construction of a rail line.

2018:

January: Owners of native title over the proposed site head back to court in a bid to halt mine. This is ongoing in June 2019.

April: More than 50 religious leaders write a letter to Adani urging it to abandon its project.

October: UN scientists say Australia has a chance to save 30 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef if coal burning is phased out globally within 22 years.

November: Adani downsizes the project from a 60-million-tonnes a year mine costing $16.5 billion to a 10-to-15 million tonnes a year mine costing about $2 billion.

December: Adani files a court order to bankrupt an indigenous traditional owner who launched numerous court actions against the project. This is ongoing.

2019

April: Adani’s groundwater plan gets federal approval amid criticism the government rushed the process. 

May: Queensland had rejected Adani’s black-throated finch plan and sought a further review of its groundwater plan.

May: Indecision on the Carmichael mine, and its potential jobs, is flagged as a key reason behind Labor’s federal election defeat.

May: The second last state approval is granted on the miner’s plan to manage the endangered black-throated finch.

June: Adani can construct the proposed mine after Queensland’s environment department signed off on the plan to manage groundwater on and around the Galilee basin mine site. 

 

 

 

 

             

 

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