QMEB » Proponent agrees to plead guilty to lying about land clearing at $21B coal project
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Proponent agrees to plead guilty to lying about land clearing at $21B coal project

Workers at the Carmichael Coal Project. (Photo credit Adani Australia)
Workers at the Carmichael Coal Project. (Photo credit: Adani Australia)

An Asia-backed mining company has decided to admit fault for providing wrong information to regulators about the progress of a $21 billion coal development in Central Queensland.

Adani Australia will plead guilty at the Brisbane Magistrates Court after the Queensland Department of Environment and Science sued the proponent for incorrectly reporting land clearing activity at the Carmichael Coal Project, 160km northwest of Clermont.

The department blames Adani for failing to disclose a disturbance area of more than 130 hectares in its 2017/2018 annual return for the mine.

‘False and misleading’

“The department alleges that Adani’s annual return contained false and misleading information about the disturbance already undertaken at the mine during the annual return period,” the department said according to the Australian Associated Press.

The company claims it “self-reported” the “administrative error” and was disappointed the regulator took them to court over the matter, especially since steps have already been taken to avoid a repeat.

“After self-reporting to the Queensland Government that we made an administrative error in our 2017/18 Annual Return for the Carmichael mine, Adani will today plead guilty in the Brisbane Magistrate’s Court for providing the administering authority an erroneous document,” an Adani spokesperson told QMEB.

“Importantly, there was no environmental harm, all relevant works were legal, and fully complied with our project conditions. We have taken responsibility for the administrative error and improvements to internal processes were introduced at the time the administrative error was discovered in 2018 and reported by us to ensure paperwork errors of this nature are avoided in the future.”

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Anti-mining group Coast and Country complained about the land clearing back in September 2018 and used satellite imagery to substantiate its claims. Both state and federal environment department officials inspected the site days later, eventually resulting in Adani making amendments to its return to declare 132 hectares had been cleared according to the broadcaster.

The penalty is widely expected to be a $3 million fine.

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