Last Updated: September 27, 2016

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Adani gets Qld EA approval, not green light – mining leases, court cases outstanding

2 February 2016

Statement from EDO Qld Principal Solicitor Sean Ryan:

Today the Guardian reported that the Queensland government has granted the Environment Authority (EA) for the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine Project proposed in Central Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

EDO Qld is disappointed at the decision to issue an EA for Adani’s project, especially given the increased environmental risks and dramatically reduced economic benefits uncovered during the Land Court hearing.

The approval follows the Queensland Land Court recommendation late last year for additional EA approval conditions in response to a challenge by EDO Qld client, community group Land Services of Coast and Country. The Court also found that:

  • the mine overstated elements of the benefit of the mine in the EIS, including by estimating Queensland jobs generated as 10,000 rather than 1,206 (1,464 net jobs Australia wide);[1]
  • there will be serious or irreversible environmental damage to the continued survival of any Black-throated Finch in the mining lease area;[2]
  • there is a great deal of uncertainty as to whether the proposed measures to deal with the impact on the Black-throated Finch will be adequate for that purpose;[3] and
  • there was a concerning lack of direct investigation into impacts on the Doongmabulla Springs Complex[4] which have exceptional ecological values,[5] which cannot be offset if they are lost.[6]

The public has the benefit of these findings only after the community challenged the evidence of the company before an independent Court.

The EA, granted by Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, authorises the environmental harms of the project subject to conditions but the project still requires mining leases to proceed. These leases are under the cloud of an appeal currently in the Queensland Supreme Court regarding native title issues.

The lawfulness of federal approval of this project, re-issued by the Environment Minister on 14 October 2015, is also being questioned by our client Australian Conservation Foundation in the Federal Court. ACF’s challenge includes whether the Minister had sufficient regard to the protection of the Great Barrier Reef required by international convention.

EDO Qld is disappointed at the decision to issue an EA for Adani’s project, especially given the increased environmental risks and dramatically reduced economic benefits uncovered during the Land Court hearing.

EDO Qld will be examining the State government’s approval of the EA and can provide a more detailed response in due course.

[1] Adani Mining Pty Ltd v Land Services of Coast and Country Inc & Ors [2015] QLC 48, at paragraph [575].

[2] Adani Mining Pty Ltd v Land Services of Coast and Country Inc & Ors [2015] QLC 48, at paragraph [406].

[3] Adani Mining Pty Ltd v Land Services of Coast and Country Inc & Ors [2015] QLC 48, at paragraph [409].

[4] Adani Mining Pty Ltd v Land Services of Coast and Country Inc & Ors [2015] QLC 48, at paragraph [173].

[5] Adani Mining Pty Ltd v Land Services of Coast and Country Inc & Ors [2015] QLC 48, at paragraph [317].

[6] Adani Mining Pty Ltd v Land Services of Coast and Country Inc & Ors [2015] QLC 48, at paragraph [322].

 

While the Queensland Government has  granted the EA for the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine project, the federal appeal is still under way in the Federal Court. To help supercharge this important case we urge you to make a donation. To get the latest news on the case, subscribe to our eNewsletter.