The Queensland Government has approved mining leases for Adani’s A$21.7bn ($16bn) Carmichael coal mine and rail project in the Galilee Basin, Australia.
Queensland Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham issued the mining leases, 70441 Carmichael, 70505 Carmichael East and 70506 Carmichael North, which will see the mining of 60 million tonnes of coal every year.
The three individual mining leases are estimated to contain 11 billion tonnes of thermal coal, and will provide for mining and the development of infrastructure.
Premier Annastascia Palaszczuk said: "Some approvals are still required before construction can start, and ultimately committing to the project will be a decision for Adani.
"However, I know the people of north and central Queensland will welcome this latest progress for the potential jobs and economic development it brings closer for their communities.
"At the same time, stringent conditions will continue to protect the environment, landholders’ and traditional owners’ interests, and our iconic Great Barrier Reef."
According to Adani’s estimates, the mine, rail and port project is set to generate over 5,000 jobs during construction and more than 4,500 jobs at the time of operation.
Lynham said: "The mine’s environmental authority had about 140 conditions to protect local flora and fauna, groundwater and surface water resources, as well as controls on dust and noise.
"A further 99 stringent and wide-ranging conditions apply to the rail and port elements of the project."
Palaszczuk said that the Caley Valley wetlands and the Great Barrier Reef have been protected by not allowing dredge spoil to be dumped on the wetlands.
Also, no dredging will be carried out at Abbot Point until Adani demonstrates financial closure.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific reef campaigner Shani Tager said: "This decision is appalling. The Great Barrier Reef is World Heritage-listed because it is a natural wonder of the world, and right now its most pristine areas are suffering from bleaching because the waters are too warm.
"The Queensland Government are supposed to be taking care of our Reef, instead they’re giving coal companies the green light to keep mining and burning coal that is driving climate change and bleaching our Reef."
Image: A green sea turtle on the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: courtesy of Nize.