There’s been cautious reaction to the announcement that the Queensland government has approved mining leases for Indian investor Adani.
The approvals process for the Carmichael Mine, located in the Galilee Basin more than 160km north west of Clermont, has been the subject of continued objection on environmental grounds.
The project is one of the largest ever planned in Queensland with goals to eventually export more than 6mt/year through the Abbot Point coal handling facility north of Bowen.
The project includes mining, rail and port development.
Former Bowen Mayor, Mike Bunker who won a council position in the recent local government election, said the town was popping champagne corks two years ago thinking that the project has going ahead.
“We fell flat on our face and are not getting exited about this announcement until we see construction at Abbot Point,” Cr Brunker said.
“This is the largest project in Queensland and there are still financial caveats. They are still pandering to the greens.”
The announcement carried a qualification saying, ‘There would be no dredging at Abbot Point until Adani demonstrates financial closure and Queensland taxpayers will not fund infrastructure for the project.’
Never in Queensland’s history had a project gone through such a rigourous project of having to justify itself, said Cr Brunker.
“No-one believes you can give mining companies carte-blanche, but the greens are guilty of abuse of process in their continual objections through the planning and environment court,” he said.
A 40 year-plus resident of Clermont is more sanguine.
Coal miner Malcolm Betterley said he welcomed the announcement and was concerned that the process took into account the owner’s history.
Adani’s environmental credentials had been questioned in other countries as well as its home country India, Mr Betterly said.
Adani’s early plans to bring in FIFO labour from outside the country failed to promote optimism and there were other issues to consider, he said.
“There are a lot of landowners between the site and the coast on a lot of good cattle country,” Mr Betterly said. “I am concerned of the need for proper consultation.”
“We do need jobs in the region, take the QNI (Queensland Nickel) closure for example. But if it takes another six months to get it right, that is better than looking back in hindsight with regrets.”