A foreign-backed $21 billion mining project will begin construction if it receives final approval on June 13.
India-headquartered Adani Australia confirmed it is prepared to start work immediately at its Carmichael Coal Project, 160km northwest of Clermont in Central Queensland’s Galilee Basin.
The Queensland Department of Environment and Science will decide whether to give final approval for the project’s groundwater management plan before close of business.
If the plan is approved there will be no further approvals required before major work can start. However, if not Adani will have to go back to the drawing board.
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Water science ‘severely flawed’
Water experts from four Australian universities are concerned Adani might have underestimated the mine’s impact on groundwater supply.
The hydrologists claim Adani’s water science is “severely flawed”, and the Doongmabulla Springs Complex near the mine could permanently dry up, killing off plant and animal species that depend on it.
Adani maintains it spent years working on its groundwater plan and trust the department will make a fair judgment.
Court ruling will have ‘no bearing’
The proponent does not expect a federal court ruling late on June 12 would affect its plans to pump 12.5 billion litres of water a year from the Suttor River.
The ruling will force the Federal Government to redo the public consultation process. It comes after the government admitted it did not properly consider public submissions on the proposal, and even lost some of them.
A spokesperson for Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley confirmed the court ruling will have “no bearing on the federal approval for the Carmichael Coal mine itself”.