In an expected but infuriating and unreasonable move, the Queensland government yesterday approved an environmental authority (EA) for Adani in relation to what is being referred to as ‘the $16 billion Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project’. The obvious flaw in this title is, of course, that Adani does not have the $16 billion – and has precious little chance of raising it.
The EA is the second last legislative approval needed – the last being a mining lease. This will be approved (or not!) by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, the bailiwick of Dr Andrew Lytham. Minister Lytham has said that he is not interested in ‘fast-tracking’ the project (a request of Adani and Townsville Enterprise Limited, amongst others) and that it has to go through due process.
The NQCC media release can be read here.
As we noted in the media release, this decision to approve the mine – what would be the largest mine in Australia – comes just a few months after world leaders met in Paris and agreed to take urgent and strong action to limit carbon emissions in order to avoid runaway climate change. The gall of the government in immediately caving in to Indian coal miners and turning away from this agreement is gob-smacking.
In an apologia, Minister for the Environment and Minister for the Great Barrier Reef, Steven Miles put out a statement noting: “Today I was advised by the Director General of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection that the Department has granted Adani’s application for an environmental authority for its proposed Carmichael Mine in the Galilee Basin.
I appreciate this decision will be welcomed by some people and disappoint others. The decision to issue an environmental authority is not a political one – it is made by the environmental regulator in accordance with applicable legislative provisions. Under Queensland law I had no role in the decision making process.”
There are still a couple of Court cases to be played out in relation to the Carmichael mine – but, ironically, it would appear that much of the fate of Carmichael will be determined by the market, in which coal stocks are crawling along the bottom – that and continued action from environmental organisations and people like you. Stay tuned.