India’s Adani group has been granted the leases it needs to proceed with its multi-billion dollar coal mine in Australia’s Queensland province.
The Queensland state government said the A$21.7 billion project to build one of the world’s biggest mines was awarded three leases.
“This is a major step forward for this project after extensive government and community scrutiny,” Queensland Premier Annastascia Palaszczuk said in a statement.
“Stringent conditions will continue to protect the environment, landholders’ and traditional owners’ interests, and our iconic Great Barrier Reef.”
The state government said that the mining leases at Carmichael in the Galilee Basin were estimated to contain 11 billion tonnes of coal.
Adani, however, said its final investent decision depended on securing outstanding approvals and overcoming legal challenges by actividt that plague the project.
“Successive legal challenges to science-based approvals – which are the strictest of their kind for a major resources project in this country – are designed to deny the job-creating benefits of the company’s mine, rail and port projects to our state,” the company said in a statement.
Palaszczuk said some approvals were still needed before Adani could begin construction.
“Ultimately committing to the project will be a decision for Adani,” she said.
Environemntal onservationists argue that the mega-mine would threaten the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s biggest coral reef ecosystem and a world heritage site.