Adani is still struggling to get final approvals for its Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, with the state government’s Department of Environment and Science (DES) ordering further reviews of the company’s Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan (GDEMP).
A recent setback for Adani came after Melissa Price, the federal Liberal/National Coalition government’s environment minister, issued final federal approvals for Carmichael in the last hours before a national election was called.
Leaked emails have subsequently revealed government bodies CSIRO and Geosciences Australia had been encouraged to urgently clear the GDEMP, and Queensland federal MPs had threatened to undermine Price if the sign-off wasn’t finalised.
The DES also ordered Adani to further review its management plan for the endangered black-throated finch. The largest known surviving population of the bird, which faces extinction, exists on the Carmichael site. Adani’s Australian manager, Lucas Dow, described the DES as “engaging in a secretive and non-transparent additional review process”.
Adani saw some relief on 21 May when the DES withdrew legal action against the company’s Abbot Point Coal Terminal operating entity, Abbot Point Operations (APO), which allegedly released polluted water from settlement ponds into local wetlands during Tropical Cyclone Debbie in February 2017.
The prosecution was dropped after DES and APO reached a deal for the latter to install and automated floodwater monitoring/release system that would allow real-time measurement of storm water quality.
APO was due to be tried in the Bowen Magistrates Court on 22 July, facing a potential penalty of A$2.7M.