MAC: Mines and Communities

Australian environmental groups outraged over Adani approval

Published by MAC on 2016-02-05
Source: Statements, Brisbane Times, ABC News (2016-02-04)

Environmental groups outraged over Adani approval

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/environmental-groups-outraged-over-adani-approval-20160202-gmk0re.html

2 February 2016

Adani's environmental authority for the Carmichael mine in Queensland has been set aside after court action was taken by the Mackay Conservation Group. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Environment advocates have been quick to express their disappointment following the news the state government has granted an environmental authority for the controversial Adani coal mine project in the Galilee Basin.

While the environmental approval is still one less hurdle the India-based company has to overcome, it is still to secure funding for the $16 billion project and receive a mining licence from the state.

But the authority has drawn criticism from green groups, including the Environmental Defenders Office, with Queensland principal solicitor Sean Ryan announcing the group's "disappointment" with the decision.

"The EA, granted by Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, authorises the environmental harms of the project subject to conditions but the project still requires mining leases to proceed," he said.

"These leases are under the cloud of an appeal currently in the Queensland Supreme Court regarding native title issues.

"The lawfulness of federal approval of this project, re-issued by the Environment Minister on 14 October 2015, is also being questioned by our client Australian Conservation Foundation in the Federal Court. ACF's challenge includes whether the minister had sufficient regard to the protection of the Great Barrier Reef required by international convention."

Last year, the Queensland Land Court found Adani had exaggerated the benefits the project would bring, agreeing it was most likely to create just under 1500 net jobs a year, rather than the 10,000 it had been promoting and that Adani's modelling had "probably overstated the selling price of the coal and therefore the royalties generated by the project and the corporate tax payable".

But it rejected testimony that the mine would not be financially viable.

Greenpeace Australia's Shani Tager said the government had "sold out" the Queensland environment.

"This environmental authority waves through a project that threatens the health of the Great Barrier Reef, which is already suffering from climate change and pollution," she said in a statement.

"As Australia's largest coal mine, Carmichael will add to the global warming that is threatening the reef. It will mean expanding Abbot Point port, dredging in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and sending more ships through this delicate ecosystem."

Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Kelly O'Shanassy said the foundation, which was challenging the federal government approval of the mine in court "could not understand the decision".


Adani gets Qld EA approval, not green light – mining leases, court cases outstanding

Statement from EDO Qld Principal Solicitor Sean Ryan

2 February 2016

Today the Guardian reported that the Queensland government has granted the Environment Authority (EA) for the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine Project proposed in Central Queensland’s Galilee Basin.

EDO Qld is disappointed at the decision to issue an EA for Adani’s project, especially given the increased environmental risks and dramatically reduced economic benefits uncovered during the Land Court hearing.

The approval follows the Queensland Land Court recommendation late last year for additional EA approval conditions in response to a challenge by EDO Qld client, community group Land Services of Coast and Country. The Court also found that:

The public has the benefit of these findings only after the community challenged the evidence of the company before an independent Court.

The EA, granted by Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, authorises the environmental harms of the project subject to conditions but the project still requires mining leases to proceed. These leases are under the cloud of an appeal currently in the Queensland Supreme Court regarding native title issues.

The lawfulness of federal approval of this project, re-issued by the Environment Minister on 14 October 2015, is also being questioned by our client Australian Conservation Foundation in the Federal Court. ACF’s challenge includes whether the Minister had sufficient regard to the protection of the Great Barrier Reef required by international convention.

EDO Qld is disappointed at the decision to issue an EA for Adani’s project, especially given the increased environmental risks and dramatically reduced economic benefits uncovered during the Land Court hearing.

EDO Qld will be examining the State government’s approval of the EA and can provide a more detailed response in due course.

[1] Adani Mining Pty Ltd v Land Services of Coast and Country Inc & Ors [2015] QLC 48, at paragraph [575].
[2] Adani Mining Pty Ltd v Land Services of Coast and Country Inc & Ors [2015] QLC 48, at paragraph [406].
[3] Adani Mining Pty Ltd v Land Services of Coast and Country Inc & Ors [2015] QLC 48, at paragraph [409].
[4] Adani Mining Pty Ltd v Land Services of Coast and Country Inc & Ors [2015] QLC 48, at paragraph [173].
[5] Adani Mining Pty Ltd v Land Services of Coast and Country Inc & Ors [2015] QLC 48, at paragraph [317].
[6] Adani Mining Pty Ltd v Land Services of Coast and Country Inc & Ors [2015] QLC 48, at paragraph [322].


Environmental authority for Adani threatens climate and reef

https://www.qldconservation.org.au/2016/02/environmental-authority-for-adani-threatens-climate-and-reef/

3 February 2016

Queensland Conservation Council today expressed disappointment that the Queensland Government issued an Environmental Authority for the Carmichael coal mine that will be Australia’s largest coal mine and will cause dangerous greenhouse pollution.

“It seems that the government’s support for the Paris climate talks has melted away at the first test”, said Kirsten Macey, climate campaigner for the Queensland Conservation Council.

“We know that the mining and burning of coal causes dangerous global warming and this massive mine will wreak havoc on our climate as well as our reef. 60,000 jobs that depend on the reef are in jeopardy as a result of this decision.”

“We have a huge responsibility in Queensland to keep coal in the ground if we are going to avoid global warming and all its consequences – coral bleaching of our iconic Great Barrier Reef, hotter weather, increased floods and more intense storms and cyclones.

“The survival of Queensland’s threatened species, the Black-throated Finch, as well as ancient springs, are now in jeopardy due to this approval. The mine will damage around 16,500 hectares of Black-throated Finch habitat, damaging one of the most significant populations of this bird in Queensland.

“The Queensland Government’s Mines Minister Anthony Lynham still has to approve a mining lease for this mine. He must say ‘no’ to big coal and ‘yes’- to protecting our environment, reef and climate”, concluded Ms Macey.

For more information please contact Kirsten Macey, Climate Campaigner on 0421 769 341

Notes:


Adani still 'committed' to Carmichael mine, despite funding freeze reports

By South Asia correspondent James Bennett

ABC News

4 February 2016

Indian conglomerate Adani Enterprises says it remains "committed" to the multi-billion-dollar Carmichael mine in Queensland's Galilee Basin, despite reports that investment in the project is on hold until the coal price goes up.

An analysis of the company's prospects by Indian firm Axis Capital raised the prospect of Adani "considering a write-off of ADE's dormant investment in Australian coal mine".

Axis' report stated that the company's management advised in a briefing earlier this week that the company did not expect to invest any money into the Carmichael project in the coming financial year.

The report stated that "management mentioned that further investments in its Australian coal mine project shall be dependent on … revival of global coal prices".

The ABC understands that the comments were made during a telephone briefing of analysts by Adani on Monday.

A source has told the ABC that an Adani executive told the briefing that the project "would be reassessed in light of current coal prices".

When asked to confirm or deny the comments, Adani Australia chief executive Jeyakumar Janakaraj told the ABC in a statement that the company was "committed" to the project.

"Adani is absolutely committed to proceeding with its investments in Queensland, in line with its integrated pit-to-plug strategy," Mr Janakaraj said.

"To the extent comments have been made regarding timelines, it's important to remember that these factor in when final approvals from Government are likely to be given."

However, his statement did not deny the assertions made in the Axis report or address what impact global coal prices might have on the project's viability.

Although the mine received Queensland Government approval earlier this week, the company has not made a final investment decision on the $16 billion mine, rail and port project.

The Queensland Government's decision prompted uproar from environmental groups fighting the project.

Adani is still facing federal court challenges from the Australian Conservation Foundation and traditional owners.

It also needs to prove it has the financial capacity to build the mine before it is granted a final licence.

Mr Janakaraj said that his company's ultimate decision would be based on regulatory approvals.

"We have consistently said that what drives an investment decision here is approvals certainty," he said.

"This remains the case."

The company said it was poised to resume development within months of approval.

Responding to the reports the project was dependent on the coal price increasing, a company spokesman earlier noted that "it is still crucial, though, to note that endless appeals, or extra delays or new red tape could still undermine these projects".

 

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