The Queensland government has granted the controversial Carmichael mine an 11th-hour exemption to new water laws that could have seen the project subjected to further legal challenges.
The government has introduced laws requiring Queensland mining projects to obtain a water licence, in an effort to reduce the impact on ground water.
The Queensland government added an amendment to the laws that will allow the Adani mine project to avoid court challenges to its water licence.
But the Palaszczuk government on Wednesday added an amendment to the laws that will allow the Adani mine project, which has already faced significant legal action, to avoid court challenges to its water licence.
Under the amendment, projects that have already finalised proceedings with the Land Court will be able to obtain a licence from the government without being subjected to challenges from the public.
But the exemption will not apply to another controversial project – the Acland coal mine expansion on the Darling Downs – and the state’s opposition has hit out at the Labor government over the disparity.
“There are members of this house who have done a deal with the government that will prevent other projects from going forward, in particular … New Hope’s Acland stage 3 project, which has actually been going through an assessment and approvals process for longer than Adani’s Carmichael mine project,” opposition mines spokesman Andrew Cripps told Parliament.
Environment Minister Steven Miles said the new laws removed a threat to the environment by reversing Newman government legislation due to come into effect next month that would have deregulated groundwater.
“Queensland’s environment has been under threat from a ticking time-bomb – reckless laws passed by the LNP which were left waiting to commence automatically on December 6,” Dr Miles said in a statement.
“After lengthy debate, the threat to the environment and rural communities created by those laws has been defused.”
Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project
EIS status Determined that project can proceed subject to conditions
Description Open-cut and underground coal mine with a yield of 60 million tonnes per annum and a 189-kilometre railway line.
Proponent Adani Mining Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of India’s Adani Group.
Mine: Galilee Basin, 160 km north-west of Clermont
Railway line: from the mine to Moranbah, where it will join the existing Goonyella rail system, connecting to coal terminals at the Port of Hay Point (Dudgeon Point expansion) and the Port of Abbot Point.
Isaac Regional Council (majority of mine and rail)
Charters Towers Regional Council (small portion of mine)
six open-cut pits and five underground mines
five mine infrastructure areas
coal handling and processing plant
heavy industrial area
189-kilometre rail line
off-site infrastructure, including workers’ accommodation village and airport.
Investment $16.5 billion
Up to 1075 (construction)
Up to 3800 (operational)
Up to 1400 (construction)
Up to 120 (operational)
* Project information supplied by proponent and subject to change.
Environmental impact statement (EIS) process
14 October 2015 Commonwealth Minister for the Environment’s approval of ‘controlled action’ subject to conditions following re-consideration of project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
24 July 2014 Commonwealth Minister for the Environment’s initial approval of ‘controlled action’ subject to conditions.
Note that the Federal Court formally set aside the initial approval of the project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 on 4 August 2015 at the request of all of the parties to the court proceedings.
7 May 2014 Coordinator-General’s report on EIS (PDF icon 17.5 MB) released.
Additional documentation provided by proponent to Coordinator-General as requested.
25 November 2013 to
20 December 2013 Additional information for the EIS public consultation.
26 March 2013 Additional information for the EIS requested by Coordinator-General.
15 December 2012 to
11 February 2013 EIS public consultation
EIS – Overview
25 May 2011 Terms of reference for EIS (PDF icon 548 KB) released.
12 February 2011 to
28 March 2011 Draft terms of reference for EIS public consultation.
6 January 2011 Project deemed a ‘controlled action’ by Commonwealth Minister for the Environment. More information
26 November 2010 Gazettal of ‘coordinated project’ declaration (PDF icon 171 KB)
18 November 2010 Project referred to Commonwealth Minister for the Environment.
22 October 2010 Application, including initial advice statement (PDF icon 1.79 MB), submitted.
Read more about the EIS process.
Minister gives Carmichael mine approvals – puts thousands of new jobs step closer (3 April 2016)
Coordinator-General decides on Galilee Mine (8 May 2014)
Next step in assessment of Carmichael Coal Project (26 November 2013)
Galilee Transmission proposes electricity line (29 August 2013)
Coordinator-General makes 100th decision (13 December 2012)