The Queensland Government has approved mining leases for Adani’s Carmichael coal project west from Mackay.
The government is quoting the value of the mine and associated rail developments at $21.7 billion.
Premier Annastascia Palaszczuk said Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham had today approved the grant of three individual mining leases about 160km north-west of Clermont.
The emphasis was on jobs development. Ms Palaszzuk said.
“This is a major step forward for this project after extensive government and community scrutiny,” the Premier 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.”
The leases — 70441 Carmichael, 70505 Carmichael East and 70506 Carmichael North — are estimated to contain 11 billion tonnes of thermal coal.
They provide for mining and the development of infrastructure such as haul roads, buildings, workshops, power lines, workers’ camp and pipelines. Adani has estimated the mine, rail and port project will generate more than 5000 jobs at the peak of construction and more than 4500 jobs at the peak of operations.
The process to date included public objections in 2014, Land Court hearings in 2015, and a Land Court recommendation in December 2015 that the mining leases be granted, Dr Lynham said.
“Many voices have been heard, and a lot of evidence considered,” he 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.
“My decision to approve these leases is tangible evidence of the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to the sustainable development of the Galilee Basin for the thousands of jobs and economic development it will create.”
The Premier said the government had achieved progress while keeping all of its election commitments on the project.
“We have protected the Caley Valley wetlands and the Great Barrier Reef by not allowing dredge spoil to be dumped on the wetlands or in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area,” she said.
There would be no dredging at Abbot Point until Adani demonstrates financial closure and Queensland taxpayers will not fund infrastructure for the project, Dr Lynham said.
Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert and Member for Mirani Jim Pearce welcomed the positive progress on the project for their regions, hit hard by the commodity price downturn.
“Today’s (Sunday 3/4/16) news will be a real boost in communities like Moranbah, where jobs and confidence are very much tied to the resources’ sector’s fortunes,” Mr Pearce said.
The city of Mackay would welcome potential business for the city’s mining engineering and services sector, hand-in-hand with the assurance of strict environmental conditions to protect the reef, Mrs Gilbert said.
Dr Lynham said overall, the coal, rail and port project now had 19 permits and approvals at local, state and federal level, including nine primary approvals from the State and Commonwealth Government.
“A number of other steps have to be completed before mine construction can start,” the Minister said.
“They include secondary approvals for rail, port facilities, power, water, roadworks and the airport and a financial assurance with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
“The independent Coordinator-General will continue to work with Adani to progress the project.”