Adani up in arms over latest approvals hurdle

Adani Mining says ‘enough is enough’ after new advice on the approvals process for its Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan.

The company said Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science (DES) was seeking to further delay finalisation of the Carmichael project’s GDEMP by engaging in a secretive and non-transparent additional review process.

It alleges the department has shifted the goalposts once again and requested another round of information and assessment from CSIRO and Geoscience Australia, despite previously ruling this out.

But the department argues that Adani’s claims about DES seeking another review are false.

Adani Mining chief executive officer Lucas Dow said the department’s request was the latest delay tactic designed to stop construction of the Carmichael project and the delivery of thousands of jobs for regional Queenslanders.

“DES has consistently said it would not pursue further reviews,” he said.

“However, they have gone back on their word once again.

“We are now facing prospect of another tortuous and never-ending management plan approval process like the one we have endured for the Black-Throated Finch.

“It appears this process will again go beyond the scope of what our project is required to deliver under regulatory conditions – and put simply is simply another fishing expedition.”

A department spokeswoman said the department could confirm earlier public statements that it would not seek its own independent scientific review of the groundwater plan, but would instead rely on the advice given by CSIRO and Geoscience Australia to the Commonwealth Government.

“DES originally asked the Federal Government for a copy of the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia’s report of their review into Adani’s GDEMP (version 10) in early March, but did not receive a copy until 9 April 2019,” she said.

“DES only received the latest version of the GDEMP (version 11) on the same day, following its approval by the Department of Environment and Energy.”

The department had sought updated advice from CSIRO and Geoscience Australia on the latest version of the GDEMP, she said.

“This includes further clarification around the evidence to support identification of the source aquifer(s) of the Doongmabulla Springs Complex,” the spokeswoman said.

“DES has not sought advice on issues outside those that were covered in the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia report of February 2019.

“This advice will be important in assessing whether the latest version of the GDEMP addresses the longstanding conditions set out in the environmental authority requirements.”

While there is no statutory timeframe for the GDEMP to be approved, DES has expressed urgency in receiving the advice from CSIRO and Geoscience Australia.
On Friday 10th May, DES agreed to meet with Adani this week and set out the timeframes for CSIRO and Geoscience Australia to update their review following analysis of the latest version of the GDEMP, once this timeframe has been confirmed by CSIRO and Geoscience Australia.

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