Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science has today approved Adani’s Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan (GDEMP) for the Carmichael coal project.
It said Adani had submitted its most recent version of the plan, addressing the department’s feedback, yesterday.
The GDEMP was the final environmental management approval required for Adani to begin significant mining activities at its Carmichael mine site, 160km north-west of Clermont.
The decision – meeting a deadline set by the Co-ordinator General – came after the project’s Black-Throated Finch Management Plan was approved on May 31.
Assessment was ‘rigorous’ says DES
In an official statement, the DES said the GDEMP’s assessment had been rigorous and based on the best available science.
“DES and Adani have met regularly to ensure the plan is robust and provides the maximum environmental protection,” the DES said.
“In assessing the plan, both Adani and DES took on board advice from CSIRO and Geoscience Australia – the same advice considered by the Commonwealth Government in approving an earlier version of the GDEMP in April this year.
“DES sought further clarification and advice from CSIRO and Geoscience Australia, which it received on 7 June 2019.
“Based on this advice, DES is satisfied that the GDEMP sufficiently establishes the main source aquifer of the springs as the Clematis Sandstone.
“CSIRO and Geoscience Australia also confirmed that some level of uncertainty in geological and groundwater conceptual models always exists.”
Further scientific work required
The DES said it had required additional commitments from Adani to undertake further scientific work over the next two years.
This includes further work to improve the understanding of the source aquifers of springs in the locality, particularly the Doongmabulla Springs Complex.
Adani is also required to review hydrological, hydrochemistry analyses and seismic information as part of its second geological and groundwater remodelling after box cut mining starts, and review seismic information pertaining underground mining impacts.
Underground mining (scheduled to start in year 10 of the project) can not commence until these actions are completed and only if predicted impacts are consistent with approved impacts.