Indian energy giant Adani has won final approvals for Australia's largest coal mine, despite a chorus of opposition from climate change campaigners.
The Queensland and federal governments have ticked off on a 31.5km rail line and a temporary 300-bed construction camp for the vast Carmichael mine, in the state’s Galilee Basin.
Gautam Adani will on Tuesday visit Townsville, which is expected to be named as the headquarters for the mine project.
“The Adani project’s minimum number of between 2,000 and 4000 people being employed – that’s a minimum number,” Queensland’s State Development Minister Anthony Lynham told ABC radio on Monday.
The approvals put the $21.7 billion coal and rail project on track for the start of construction work next year.
Environmental groups are preparing to stage a protest at an expected meeting between Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Melbourne on Monday.
They’re furious that $1 billion in federal funds could be provided as a concessional loan for the mine’s rail link to Abbot Point on Queensland’s north coast.
During the election campaign, Mr Turnbull said there was no public funding for the mine, but the door was left open for support through the government’s $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.
On Monday, the federal minister for northern Australia Matt Canavan said any decision on a loan for the rail link would be made by the fund’s independent board.
“They’re conducting further due diligence on the project now. That will take them a few more months. I can’t direct the board, it’s up to them,” Senator Canavan told ABC radio.
He also downplayed suggestions Adani has struggled to secure private funding for the mine and rail link, and said the development was good for the environment.
“Providing India with its energy needs from Australian coal is good for the environment, because it burns at a higher rate and produces less emissions per kilowatt-hour,” the minister said.
Just last week, scientists who studied a mass coral die off on the Great Barrier Reef this year said it was undeniably the result of climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels, and the Adani mine would only compound the threat.
Australian scientists say that with 1.5 or 2 degrees of warming, the reef is in grave danger and the world isn’t even on track to meet those targets.
- It will be the largest coal mine in Australia and one of the biggest in the world
- Will operate for up to 90 years
- Adani is investing $21.7 billion
- Construction to generate $78 million per annum in direct and indirect impacts on the Mackay regions and $203 million for Queensland as a whole
- Production to generate $176.6 million per year in Mackay region and $274.1 million for the state
- $5.5bn in royalty/taxes in first 10 years
- Some 10,000 jobs (direct/indirect) over the course of 25 years
- Includes workers village with a capacity of up to 2,000 bed
- Total of 389km rail of line to be built, including approximately 310 kilometres connecting the northern Galilee Basin to the Port of Abbot Point
- Coal trains to run 24/7 every day
- Greens say mine will condemn Great Barrier Reef to worse bleaching
- Jeopardises 70,000 jobs associated with the Reef
- The project affects four native title/Aboriginal party areas
- Government has overlooked Adani Group being accused of overlooking ecological issues in India
- Project which will destroy Indigenous land rights
- Approving the coal mine is incompatible with Australia’s commitment to the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change