Another step forward for Adani's Carmichael

FEDERAL Environment Minister Melissa Price has approved the groundwater plan for Adani’s Carmichael mine in Queensland, clearing the air before the announcement of the federal election.
Another step forward for Adani's Carmichael Another step forward for Adani's Carmichael Another step forward for Adani's Carmichael Another step forward for Adani's Carmichael Another step forward for Adani's Carmichael

Adani's Lucas Dow

The controversial mine application had Nationals party MPs calling for a quick decision.
Price insisted the approval was made on scientific grounds with input from the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia. 
"Following this independent assessment and the Department of Environment and Energy's recommendation for approval, I have accepted the scientific advice and therefore approved the groundwater management plans for the Carmichael coal mine and rail infrastructure project under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999," she said.
"To date, only 16 of 25 environmental plans have been finalised or approved by the Commonwealth and Queensland governments with a further nine to be finalised.
"It must meet further stringent conditions of approval from the Commonwealth before it can begin producing coal."
Adani has to improve the monitoring of the Doongmabulla Springs, implement tighter corrective action triggers if there are any groundwater impacts, and introduce more scientific modelling within two years of the start of mining.
"This process reflects our commitment to ensuring robust environmental protection while balancing the needs of Australia's economy," Price said.
"This is a commercial project. The Australian government is not providing any financial support to the mine or to its rail project."
Price said the Geoscience Australia and CSIRO advice had been provided to the Queensland government.
Adani is also awaiting finals approvals from the Queensland government before can start mining at Carmichael.  
Adani Mining CEO Lucas Dow said the approval followed more than 18 months of consultation with the department, and the independent evaluation and endorsement of the plan by CSIRO and Geoscience Australia.
"The independent evaluation and endorsement by CSIRO and Geoscience Australia verifies that the measures outlined in the plans will ensure groundwater at the mine, and the ecosystems that depend on it, are protected," he said.
"The Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Management Plan and the Groundwater Management and Monitoring Plan detail all the activities we will undertake and safeguards we will implement to ensure that we meet the approval conditions for the mine relating to groundwater. 
"This includes a network of more than 100 monitoring bores to track underground water levels.
"The plans will ensure we achieve sustainable environmental outcomes and we're now looking forward to delivering the thousands of jobs our project will create for people in north and central Queensland.
"Throughout the past 18 months, the federal department provided us with certainty of process and timing, including the steps involved in the independent review by CSIRO and Geoscience Australia experts."
Dow said in contrast, the Queensland government had "continued to shift the goal posts" when it came to finalising the outstanding environmental management plans for the mine.
"It's time the Queensland government gave us a fair go and stopped shifting the goal posts so we can get on with delivering these jobs," he said.
The Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan is one of two outstanding management plans that require approval from the Queensland government to allow Adani to start construction and mining. 
The other is the Black-throated Finch Management Plan.
The GDEMP has been through 11 rounds of assessment with the Australian and Queensland Governments over more than two years.
Adani said the GDEMP was a regulatory document that outlined the actions Adani would take to protect the Doongmabulla Springs and other groundwater dependent species during the construction and operation of the Carmichael mine, ensuring it met project conditions.
The GDEMP describes the monitoring and management activities, and any approved impacts to groundwater dependent springs and plants within the region of the Carmichael mine site.
Anti-Adani protests are becoming more shrill and disruptive as the nation awaits the date of the next federal election from Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Morrison was continually interrupted by anti-Adani protestors while giving a luncheon speech in Brisbane on Monday.
Morrison said the remaining issues with the Carmichael project were "quite minor in the scheme of the broader approvals provided already".
Labor leader Bill Shorten said in government he would be guided by the "best science and the law of the land" on the Adani approvals, but no taxpayer money would go to the project.