The Bowen community has reacted cautiously to news that Adani has been granted environmental approval to mine coal at its Carmichael lease in the Galilee Basin.
Bowen is just south of Abbot Point, which is part of a mine, rail and port investment by the Indian utilities and energy giant that is touted to produce and handle six million tonnes of thermal coal a year for export.
The Environment Department issued 140 conditions late on Tuesday for what will be Australia’s largest coal mine.
In normal circumstances the town would be jumping for joy, said local real estate agency principal Tony Doyle.
He quoted the situation of joint venture GVK Hancock which has been in court for 12 months fighting another round of appeals.
A mining lease may be some time off, Mr Doyle said.
“History has shown us that someone will have a crack at that approval,” he said. “GVK is ahead of Adani and they still have not got a mining lease.”
The qualified environmental approvals is a hot issue around the country.
The ABC reported that nine of the environmental conditions related to the protection of the black-throated finch, as required by the Land Court in December after a case brought forward by a conservation group..
The Courier Mail said Adani faced a major setback last year when the Mackay Conservation Group successfully launched a Federal Court action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, challenging Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s approval.
The Australian Conservation Foundation said last night the Palaszczuk Labor Government had failed the public and the environment by granting the Environmental Authority.
“If it goes ahead, the Carmichael coal mine would create billions of tonnes of pollution, making climate change worse and irreversibly damaging the Great Barrier Reef,” ACF chief executive officer Kelly O’Shanassy said.
The decision also led the debate on environmental interference in planning decisions run on Channel Ten’s The Project. http://tenplay.com.au/channel-ten/the-project