The Carmichael coal mine in Central Queensland will require 1,500 workers and is expected to create 6,750 indirect jobs in the region.

By Ian Horswill

Posted on June 13, 2019

Adani Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of India’s Adani Group, has been given approved by Queensland’s Labor government to build and operate its Carmichael coal mine.

The Carmichael coal mine is a thermal coal mine in the north of the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland, Australia. Mining is planned to be conducted by both open-cut and underground methods and require 1,500 workers and expected to create 6,750 indirect jobs in the region.

Nearly 19,000 workers have applied for the estimated 1500 construction and ramp jobs expected over the next two years.

Further rolling deadlines from June to September are set for leases and licences, allowing rail construction and operation, a workers’ camp and airport and the finalisation of a royalties deal.

Its plan was met with fierce opposition by environmentalists. The Adani coal mine is the first to be built in the Galilee Basin, although a further six are proposed.

While today’s decision gives Adani the go-ahead, designs for its railway line to get coal to the Abbot Point terminal, north of Bowen, are yet to be finalised, ABC News reported.

It has approvals to produce up to 60 million tonnes of thermal coal every year but at this stage is planning to produce about 27.5 million tonnes.

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) won a Federal Court appeal yesterday, which found the Australian government had not properly assessed about 2,000 public submissions on Adani’s plans to use river water. But the ACF said the decision was unlikely to further delay the project.

The Queensland Government’s decision came after its Department of Environment and Science approved a plan to manage groundwater on and around the company’s basin mine site, despite enduring concerns held by certain water experts that the mine could kill off an ancient springs complex and have dire effects on the health of the Carmichael River.

Hydrologists from four Australian universities say Adani’s water science is “severely flawed” and the Doongmabulla Springs Complex near the mine could permanently dry up, killing off plant and animal species that depend on it, reported.

“Adani has underestimated the likely impacts to the springs by adopting highly unrealistic parameters in their calculations while their modelling is riddled with uncertainties,” said Hydrogeology Professor Adrian Werner of Flinders University.

“It will allow Adani to drain billions of litres of water with this groundwater plan then we are effectively playing Russian roulette with the very existence of a million-year-old ecosystem.”

Adani Australia CEO Lucas Dow said the company was ready to start work.

“Over the coming days preparatory activities such as finalising contracts, mobilising equipment, recruitment and completing inductions will continue,” he said.

“These preparatory actions will enable us to then start construction activities, including fencing, bridge and road upgrades, water management and civil earthworks on the mine site.

“The level of construction activity will then steadily increase over the coming weeks.”

The Queensland Department of Environment and Science said while box cut mining can begin, underground mining will not commence until further testing is completed. It sought advice from CSIRO and Geoscience Australia, which it received last week, and decided to approve the plan in its current form.

“CSIRO and Geoscience Australia also confirmed that some level of uncertainty in geological and groundwater conceptual models always exists,” the Department said in a statement.