Adani’s Australian coal mine project fast-tracked

Sydney: The Queensland government has declared the Adani group’s Carmichael coal mine project as critical infrastructure and invoked special powers to fast-track its remaining approvals.

In a move branded reckless by the opposition, Queensland Development Minister Anthony Lynham in a statement said the government had invoked special powers to help progress Adani’s $15.95 billion Carmichael coal and rail project, Xinhua news reported on Monday.

Lynham said the move would mean less red tape for the project in the Galilee Basin in Western Queensland without any further disruptions, allowing approvals quickly.

He said the special “prescribed project” status was also renewed and expanded for the Adani Enterprise Ltd to include its water infrastructure.

“This step bundles together major elements — the mine, the 389 km rail line, and the water infrastructure, including a pipeline, pumping stations and a dam upgrade,” he said.

Lynham said his government was serious about having the Adani mine in operation, “We want this to happen.”

The water licences were the only outstanding state approvals for the project.

Meanwhile, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported that Australian Greens Senator Larissa Waters had slammed the state government’s move of fast-tracking.

Waters said it was reckless and short-sighted when they should be focusing on renewable energy projects for job creation.

“Instead, they’re prioritising a coal mine owned by an overseas company, that won’t pay any tax in Australia, that will generate a fraction of the jobs that it originally claimed, besides threatening the Great Barrier Reef and the jobs it provides,” she said.

Lynham said since Queensland Government came to power in 2015, 22 key Commonwealth, state and local government approvals were granted for Adani’s mine, rail and port facilities and 29 key milestones were reached.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche described the move as a step forward but said new water license laws could add legal obstacles.

Adani group had previously said that construction of its Carmichael coal project would begin in 2017.