Biggest coal mine approved

Green Lifestyle

A huge new coal mine – the largest in Australia – in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, was approved by the federal government today.


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Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt today approved a new coal mine which, once it reaches peak production, is expected to export 60 million tonnes of thermal coal per year to India, via a port at Abbot Point on the Great Barrier Reef coast.

Environment groups say the Carmichael Mine's approval is terrible news for water resources, wildlife and the global effort to tackle climate change. The World Heritage Committee has already expressed concern over degradation of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area, which would be impacted by this particular mine through dredging to create the new port needed for the mine site.

The mine would be run by Indian company Adani, who have a bad track record for cutting corners on environmental and legal requirements in their own country. Adani are being investigated and fined in India for bribery, environmental destruction and building on village land without community permission.

Adani Chairman, Gautam Adani said today: “We welcome the Minister’s approval of the Carmichael Mine and Rail project, which takes us another step closer to delivering our multi–billion dollar mine, rail and port development”.

Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, explains her concerns for the Carmichael Mine:

“Off the back of repealing effective action on climate change, the Abbott Government has ticked off on a proposal for Australia’s biggest coal mine to cook the planet and turn our Reef into a super highway for coal ships,” Senator Larissa Waters said.

“The Carmichael coal mine is set become one of the world’s largest coal mines, producing 60 million tonnes of thermal coal every year for sixty years to dramatically increase Australia’s contribution to global warming.

“The proponent, Indian-owned Adani, is in financial dire straits and has already faced complaints about breaches of environmental laws in its home country.

“There’s no guarantee Adani will be able to pay for the environmental conditions attached to the approval and with the Abbott and Newman governments slashing environment department staff, there’s no capacity to enforce them.

“The Abbott government’s claims that it has put 'stringent' conditions on the approval are a joke given the Auditor General last month found that the federal environment department is so under-resourced it is failing to monitor and enforce environmental conditions.

“Adani has a track record of non-compliance with environmental conditions in India – why take the risk with our climate and Great Barrier Reef?

“The Carmichael Mine is set to destroy 20,000 hectares of native bushland, use 12 billion litres water from local rivers and aquifers every year and to threaten the endangered black throated finch with extinction.

“The Abbott government’s own expert committee on the water impacts of mining has said it has no confidence in the proponents’ modelling of groundwater impacts.

“The masses of coal are set to export out through the Great Barrier Reef at the world’s largest coal port, Abbot Point, turning the Reef into a dump ground for three million cubic metres of dredge spoil and a shipping super highway.

“The Abbott and Newman governments are sacrificing the 63,000 jobs that rely on a healthy Reef all for the sake of the private profits of an overseas mining company.

"The notion that anyone will want to buy our coal in 60 years is economic lunacy, so this project is economically foolhardy as well as an environmental disaster.

“Australia should be leading the way on renewable energy rather than condemning India to worse air quality and subjecting the world to more extreme weather disasters," said Senator Waters.

Further concern has also been raised over this Carmichael Mine if the federal government is successful in a proposed handover of environmental approval powers is handed on to the states. There's concern that state governments are under-resourced and under-qualified to monitor or enforce compliance to environmental regulations. Click here for more info: