Adani Enterprise has received the final environmental approval to commence work on its Carmichael mine in Central Queensland, Australia, following years of protests and court battles.
The Queensland Environment Department approved the mine’s groundwater management plan after a rigorous assessment.
During the last 18 months, the firm created around a dozen versions of the groundwater management plan. However, these version could not meet the core environmental requirements, including a plan to avoid destruction of the Doongmabulla Springs Complex, which is claimed to be an unspoiled desert oases.
The Environment Department ordered the company to find the source of the springs. Adani Enterprise identified Clematis Sandstone as the main source aquifer. The company was also ordered to investigate further and install a new bore in order to rule out possibilities of the Permian aquifers (Colinlea) being a source.
Adani will also have to undertake additional work over the next two years to identify any further potential source.
It will use hydrogeochemical analysis of groundwater from different springs, isotopic analysis, and examine samples from new bores.
According to the Environment Department, the miner can begin box cut mining at the site; however, further testing needs to be completed to carry out underground mining.
The department said it sought advice from CSIRO and Geoscience Australia before granting approval.
The Queensland Environment Department stated: “CSIRO and Geoscience Australia also confirmed that some level of uncertainty in geological and groundwater conceptual models always exists.”
Adani acquired this project in 2010. This project, which was embroiled in court battles, is expected to generate between eight and ten million tonnes of thermal coal a year.
The firm now expects to ship first coal from this mine in two years.