Australia approves controversial coal project

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The finch management plan and the groundwater plan were the two persisting stumbling blocks on the path of the company before it begin work on the largest coal mine project in Australia.

While Adani can now construct the mine, it still faces more state and federal hurdles before it can actually dig out the coal.

Australia's federal and state governments have repeatedly said that the mine must stand on its own merits, and a recent drop in prices for low grade thermal coal has raised doubts about whether the mine can prove economic. "The project will deliver 1,500 direct and 6,750 indirect jobs during ramp up and construction, with Rockhampton and Townsville the primary hubs for employment", the statement said.

According to media reports, the company had earlier submitted nearly dozens of groundwater management plans but failed to meet the key environmental requirements.

The mining company is now expected to start construction at the site within days. "The level of construction activity will then steadily increase over the coming weeks", Dow said.

DES had sought further clarification and advice from CSIRO and Geoscience Australia, which it received on June 7 2019.

It was satisfied Adani had established the main aquifer that feeds the ancient Doongmabulla Springs Complex, near the edge of the mining lease. This is needed to identify any potential contribution from other aquifers and strengthen the GDEMP. The plan will attempt to limit impacts from mining to the groundwater of the Great Artesian Basin.

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"Likewise, if the hydrogeological conceptualisation differs from that of the approved project, approval must be sought prior to relevant impact causing activities", it said.

The go-ahead comes after Queensland's Department of Environment and Science said it had approved Adani's Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan (GDEMP) following a rigorous assessment "based on the best available science".

Enoch said the outcome of a legal challenge to another part of Adani's project, which saw the federal government concede in the case, showed "how critically important it is for proper processes to be followed".

The proposed coal mine is the first of six waiting for approval to begin mining in Queensland's Galilee Basin, described as Queensland's last significant coal resources.

He said: "We anticipate at least a 12-month delay to Adani's target of first coal exports, approximately two years from the commencement of construction, predominantly associated with delays in the construction of rail".

The DEE also lost an unknown number of public comments on the matter.

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