The Federal Government has pushed Adani’s Carmichael coal mine a step closer to operation by approving the groundwater plan.
The decision comes after intense pressure from Queensland Ministers, for the Government to get the approval through before the federal election is called.
The approval does not mean the coal mine can immediately begin construction, because further approvals are still needed from the State Government.
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It’s believed Adani had to revise it’s initial groundwater plan to meet scientific requirements.
Environmentalists argue that if the mine was to go ahead, aquifers in the Great Artesian Basin and groundwater dependent rivers and springs would be damaged.
Farmers and communities could also experience water shortages as a result of the damage.
The federal environment minister Melissa Price said in a statement today that the appropriate scientific requirements have now been met.
“”Following this independent assessment and the Department of Environment and Energy’s recommendation for approval, I have accepted the scientific advice and therefore approved the groundwater management plans for the Carmichael coal mine and rail Infrastructure project under Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999,” she said in the statement.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said earlier today that their decision would be made based on “ministers listening to scientists, not senators listening to themselves”.
The project still requires Queensland government approvals for nine environmental plans, and must meet further stringent conditions of approval from the Commonwealth before it gets the green light.
Ms Price also described the situation as the most rigorous approval process of any mining project in Australia.