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.

Key Facts:

  • 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
  • From my understanding (though I could be wrong and am open to correction), the majority of India's poor in rural areas are actually not connected to the grid and will not in fact benefit from the exporting of coal from Australia in any way. Therefore, any arguments about this being good for India's poor are, from what I understand, not generally accurate.

    Also, it is hard to see how really this should qualify for the Northern Australia money. That money should be going toward projects which improve infrastructure for a broad range of users, not just one foreign company who wants to export energy related materials to a foreign land.

  • Rushed through without full consultation and justification. That is political corruption spelt LOUD. On that basis alone there must be a full enquiry as to how and why two governments, QLD and Federal pushed so hard with every trick possible for a very controversial mine project. And the public and parliamentary enquiries must be started and completed as quickly as the approval process ahas been.
    Corruption is a cancer in our political system and it destroys the public trust. Ever wonder why people are so mis-trustful of the political system? This dirty approval process for the Adani mine is a prime example of why. We the voting public cannot wait for an election to punish misdeeds so we must expose the corruption and ensure it is removed immediately if we wish to have any reliable political process at all.
    Whether the mine is ultimately approved or not is NOT the issue here – it is the way it has been approved that is questionable and the politicians and political parties involved in making it happen need to be called to the dock and answer to the people.

  • Millions of people worldwide die annually from air pollution, and this will make it worse. This is stupidity at a Criminal level. This is world Terrorism. The COALition is corrupt, clearly. Labor similar, accepting funding from the death-dealing COAL industries, and justifying it with promises of a few thousand jobs. A curse on both your corrupt houses.