Adani Clermont
Adani Clermont

Adani ups Carmichael Mine site workforce in anticipation

Adani last night batted away an eleventh-hour legal win by conservation groups declaring it should not influence a final decision on the project by the State Government today.

After nine years, nine legal reviews and $3.7 billion to get it started, Adani was hoping today was day the false hope ended with the project to be given the green light.

The long-awaited, State Government groundwater approval for the Adani thermal coal project is due today just weeks after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was "sick" of the delays.

Adani has ramped-up its workforce at the Carmichael Mine site in anticipation it could start earthworks as early as Thursday.

The Co-ordinator General's expected tick-off of the groundwater plan will be heralded as a win for regional communities in north and Central Queensland, which have in part pinned their hopes on resuscitating their local economy with mining investment. About 1500 direct jobs and 6750 indirect jobs are expected to be created by the project.

 

WE’RE READY: Clermont Adani supporters Peter Pavey, Jenny Pongratz, Kel Appleton, Keely McLean (with baby Isabella), Roger Vine, Harrison Maggs, Brodie Perry and Chris McLean. Picture: Lachie Millard
WE’RE READY: Clermont Adani supporters Peter Pavey, Jenny Pongratz, Kel Appleton, Keely McLean (with baby Isabella), Roger Vine, Harrison Maggs, Brodie Perry and Chris McLean. Picture: Lachie Millard

 

However, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) yesterday won a Federal Court appeal against the assessment of Adani's North Galilee Water Scheme, which relates to a Federal Environment and Energy Department's record-keeping error.

The ACF said the Federal Government failed to consider more than 2000 public submissions relating to concerns about the mine and the water scheme. The Department conceded the matter.

"Once again this case outcome shows the Federal Government failed to properly scrutinise Adani's proposed Galilee Basin coal mine,'' it said.

It means the approval for the North Galilee Water Scheme is now on hold and Adani needs hold further conversations with the Department on next steps.

An Adani spokeswoman said last night the North Galilee Water Scheme was not required to start construction of the Carmichael Mine and rail project.

The final State Government step for the preparatory works will be closely monitored by the Indian Government and investors across the Asia Pacific.

Publican Roger Vine who owns the Commercial Hotel in Clermont, the closest community to the mine, said the town was confident the green light would be given for Adani.

"No doubt about it," he said.

Mr Vine said the town had united against the Bob Brown-led convoy that opposed the mine.

"It will go ahead but we won't get any massive economic benefit to begin with.

"But it give us a lift and a big future."

An Adani spokeswoman said yesterday they were not taking anything for granted but were prepared.

"We currently have about 60 people within the onsite camp who have been undertaking stage one preliminary works within our current approvals,'' she said.

"For months now we have had equipment onsite to deliver stage one works under our existing approvals.

"This same equipment can also be used to commence stage two construction activities.

"Although we have been preparing to start construction for many months now, we will not pre-empt any approval decisions.

"Of course we are prepared, as we should be, but we will also not get ahead of ourselves and we will continue to focus on the task at hand, working constructively with the Department of Environment and science to finalise the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan."

Resources Minister Matt Canavan said he would wait for the Government's announcement because he could Labor's heart was in the project.

Senator Canavan said the mine was about jobs and the State Government could not afford another backflip.

The expected approval today allows Adani to only build the mine - not dig for coal.

More approvals will be needed in another two years to start digging the coal for export to India.

However, it is understood the hiring will start en masse, with a main contractor expected to be announced soon.

The long-running saga has featured heavily in the past federal and state election campaigns.

In the recent federal poll, anti-Adani activists who railed against the mine are believed to have shored-up support for the LNP in the key seats of Herbert, Dawson, Capricornia and Flynn.

In the 2017 state election campaign, Annastacia Palaszczuk said Labor would veto a $1 billion loan Adani wanted from the Commonwealth's Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility for a rail line connecting the mine to the coast.

The move was roundly considered a turning point in the campaign, in which anti-Adani activists clocked-up as a win.

The controversial project has had a number of iterations since Adani first submitted its project in October 2010. It was projected to mine up to 60 million tonnes of coal a year.

At the time, then premier Anna Bligh described it as a $10 billion coal and rail project.

It will now mine 10 million tonnes a year, supported by a 200km railway.



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