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Adani mine reapproved after Land Court recommendations

Black-throated finch. Photo: Creative Commons / Chris Williamson

The Queensland Government has added nine conditions to the environmental approval of Adani’s proposed Carmichael mega-mine, after its initial approval was challenged in the Land Court by an environmental group.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection issued a final environmental authority (EA) for the mine project on Tuesday afternoon.

The new EA features roughly 140 conditions. Nine of the conditions relate to the black-throated finch, a species of estrildid finch found in north-eastern Australia, which was the primary subject of conservation group Coast and Country’s challenge, which was ultimately rejected by the Land Court in December.

“The EA application was vigorously assessed by EHP and acted on recommendations made by the Land Court,” the department said on Tuesday.

“EHP is confident the strict conditions placed on the EA, including extra requirements based on the Land Court’s recommendations, will ensure this mine will not pose an unacceptable risk to the environment and any potential impacts will be closely monitored.”

Adani’s $16 billion mine, rail and port project has endured multiple legal challenges. Along with the Land Court challenge, the mine’s federal approval was set aside in August due to a bureaucratic error, which saw two vulnerable reptile species the subject of a legal challenge.

Another challenge from the Australian Conservation Foundation is before the Federal Court, and traditional owners of the land have also challenged the approval of the mine by the National Native Title Tribunal.

Carmichael still needs a mining lease to go ahead.

If it does get off the ground, the Adani project would mean an expansion of the Abbott Point coal export terminal, the construction of a rail line to connect to the mine, and of course the construction of a 60mtpa thermal coal mine in the north of the Galilee Basin, in Central Queensland.

An Adani spokesperson, quoted by the ABC, reportedly urged the state government to grant the final mining lease as soon as possible.

“While a welcome development, it is now critical that the state government works actively with us and ensures no further delays can be made to final approvals such as the granting of a mining lease,” the spokesperson was quoted to have said.

“Progress on these approvals is crucial in ensuring the jobs and economic benefits from these projects can flow to regional Queensland at a time these opportunities are sorely needed.”

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