Australian government approves controversial coal mine

Canberra, Oct 15 (IANS) The Australian Federal Government has accorded approval for one of the world’s biggest coal mines to be built by India’s mining giant Adani group in Queensland state, the media reported on Thursday.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt signed the approval documents in this regard on Wednesday, giving the Indian mining firm the green light for the 16 billion Australian dollars ($12 billion) Carmichael coal mine project in remote central Queensland, ABC reported.

“I have the power to suspend or revoke the approval and strict penalties apply if there is a breach of the strict conditions,” he said.

The re-approval comes more than two months after the Federal Court set aside the original approval because of a bureaucratic bungle over two vulnerable species.

The court found that Hunt had not properly considered advice about the yakka skink and the ornamental snake.

At the time, Adani said it was confident the “technical error” in the approval process would be rectified and the company was quick to welcome the announcement.

In a statement, the mining company said the final federal approval made clear that environmental concerns were addressed, “reflected in rigorous and painstaking conditions”.

“It is certainty over the remaining approvals that is now key to the company progressing its plan to deliver mine, rail and port projects in Queensland that will deliver 10,000 direct and indirect jobs and in taxes and royalties to be reinvested back into community services,” it said.

First proposed in 2010, the Carmichael project will dig up and transport about 60 million tonnes of coal a year for export, mostly to India.

The mine will cover an area seven times the size of Sydney Harbour.

It includes a railway project and was first approved by the government last year.

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