Australian activists vow fight against plans for biggest coal mine


Sydney (dpa) – Australian conservationists vowed Friday to continue their fight against plans to build the country’s biggest coal mine in the state of Queensland after the government gave it the all clear.

The Indian mining group Adani’s 16-billion-dollar (11.7-billion-US-dollar) Carmichael coal mine project was given the green light Thursday by Environment Minister Greg Hunt.

Hunt was forced to redraft the government’s earlier approval for the mine after a court ruled in August it had not taken into account the impact the mine might have on two vulnerable native species – the yakka skink and ornamental snake.

Then prime minister Tony Abbott described the ruling as “tragic” and introduced legislation to ban conservationist groups from taking legal action against such major projects.

Hunt told reporters on Friday that the legislation would probably not pass parliament, and that he had instead set 36 new conditions for the mine project, which he described as the toughest in Australia’s history.

Adani welcomed the government’s second approval, saying that they addressed a “technical error.”

“The announcement of the final federal approval for the Carmichael Mine and North Galilee Basin Rail by Minister Hunt makes clear that these concerns have been addressed, reflected in rigorous and painstaking conditions,” the firm said in a Facebook posting on Thursday.

The mine will create 10,000 jobs and would add 22 billion Australian dollars to the local economy, Adani said.

The law firm which had previously argued against the mine said however it may launch another appeal, despite the new conditions.

A second appeal against the mine could be warranted based on the effect it might have on the climate, Environmental Defenders Office lawyer Sue Higginson told broadcaster ABC on Friday.

Other environmental groups, such as the Mackay Conservation Group, said the mine could threaten other species and also the Great Barrier Reef.