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$16.5 billion Aussie mining project: Adanis blame anti-coal crusaders, officials for delay

By Our Representative
India’s powerful industrial house, Adani Group, is said to be terribly upset over what it calls further delaying tactics adopted by the Queensland government in finalizing an ecosystem management plan for groundwater management and an environment plan to protect an endangered bird species, black-throated finch, for kick-starting its controversial 16.5 billion dollar coalmining project in Australia. The project has been languishing for a decade due to environmental hurdles.
In a sharply-worded statement, Adani Mining, Australia, a subsidiary of the industrial house known to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has said, “Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science (DES) is seeking to further delay finalisation of the Carmichael project’s Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan (GDEMP), by once again engaging in a secretive and non-transparent additional review process.”
Pointing out that “this is at odds with the department’s previous commitments and smacks of the type of tactics it has employed” the statement says, there is also an effort to “delay and frustrate sign-off of the Black-Throated Finch Management Plan”.
Stating that this suggests the department “now intends to renege on its February commitment to no further reviews”, the statement says, this shows, DES officials have “shifted the goalposts once again.”
Pointing out that the DES is seeking “another round of information and assessment from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Geoscience Australia, despite previously ruling this out”, the statement quotes Adani Mining CEO Lucas Dow as saying that the department’s latest move is a “delay tactic designed to stop construction of the Carmichael Project and the delivery of thousands of jobs for regional Queenslanders”.
Even as maintaining that the Adani Group has “already invested $3.3 billion into the Queensland economy” and “we are not going away”, Dow feared, “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.”
Dow said, “The manner in which our plans are now being assessed by the Queensland Labour government has gone well beyond the legitimacy of the science”, adding, “Considering DES has already been reviewing the water management plans for more than two years, across 11 versions, and had access to CSIRO and Geoscience Australia’s assessments, the requirement for further information and delays at this point is not just extraordinary, it is an injustice through process.”
The black-throated finch
“We are 1 of 125 coal mining companies in Australia. We should all be subject to the same legislation, regulations, approval processes and standards,” Dow continued. “In the past six months alone we have seen the Queensland Labour government insist on additional review processes headed by individuals who lead organisations with members who harbour anti-coal sentiments.”
“They have even labelled us bullies, all because we have publicly held them to account for their behaviour and asked to be treated fairly and on the same terms as other Queensland coal companies,” Dow stressed.
“Adani Mining first submitted the Black-Throated Finch Management Plan to the Queensland Government for approval on May 11, 2017”, and “over the past two years, seven versions of the plan have been submitted to the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, consisting of more than 1,000 pages of advice that have been assessed and verified by more than 10 different scientists, five environmental consultancy groups and even a Land Court judge.”
In its statement, Adani Mining quotes an independent ecologist of the Biodiversity Assessment and Management Pty Ltd, hired by it, to say:
“Overall, I view the Black-Throated Finch Management Plan (BTFMP) as having been compiled in line with and meeting the imposed EA conditions. The plan is responsive, contemporary and suitable for the required purpose. The BTFMP has been approved by the Department of Environment and Energy. I have not identified any reason which would justify DES to not endorse the BTFMP version 7b. It is better to have a single plan approved by both levels of government than separate versions of the same plan. The adaptive management approach provides for ongoing adaption and adoption of recognised areas for improvement.
Apprehending that it is not sure whether the new process of going ahead with finalizing its new eco management plan would succeed, Dow said, “We are not going to be pig-headed about it and we are working through the latest round of requested changes for the Black-Throated Finch Management Plan as urgently as possible in order to move forward, however department officials have refused to commit to a timeframe to finalise the plan, even if we were to accept the State’s new round of requests in full.”
“At some point, the Queensland Labor Government will need to show some courage and face regional Queenslanders with a decision on these outstanding management plans, ultimately deciding whether they will allow thousands of jobs to be delivered to the parts of our State that need it most”, he underlined.

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