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Federal Government approves Adani’s groundwater plan

The Federal Government has signed off on Adani’s groundwater management plans, bringing its Carmichael mine project one step closer to construction.

Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price said she approved the revised plans after receiving confirmation from the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia that they meet strict scientific requirements.

“I have accepted the scientific advice and therefore approved the groundwater management plans for the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Infrastructure project under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999,” Price said in a statement.

The CSIRO and Geoscience Australia were asked by the Department of Environment and Energy to provide advice on the project’s water management plans earlier this year.

In a report from February, the organisations identified areas of modelling, monitoring and management that needed further work.

They found Adani’s groundwater modelling, which predicts how groundwater will respond to the operation of the mine, was not robust enough to ensure environmental conditions were met.

The report included a number of recommendations, which Price said Adani had accepted in full, including:

  • a substantial increase in early-warning monitoring between the mine and Doongmabulla Spring, using deeper bores to monitor flows;
  • tightened corrective action triggers requiring an immediate response to any unexpected groundwater impact; and
  • commitments to re-run the model addressing all Geoscience Australia and CSIRO concerns two years of the commencement of coal extraction.

Despite the green light from the Federal Government, Adani still needs the Queensland Government to sign off on the project.

“The project now requires further approval from the Queensland Government prior to construction commencing,” Price said.

“To date, only 16 of 25 environmental plans have been finalised or approved by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments, with a further 9 to be finalised.

“It must meet further stringent conditions of approval from the Commonwealth before it can begin producing coal.”