Adani coal mine-the controversial coal mine in Australia is now one step away from beginning its preparatory construction as the Queensland Government signed off black-throated finch management plan of Adani to protect the bird species on Friday, The Guardian reported.
Queensland’s coordinator-general published a decision on Friday morning.
The Department of Environment and Science (DES), Queensland said as it requested for an updated plan ensuring the protection of the endangered species, on May 28, Adani had submitted an updated version of finch plan that includes new commitments. Now just one more environmental approval is what the Adani-owned mine needs to begin construction.
“Assessment of this plan has been a rigorous process, informed by the best available science,” a DES spokesperson said in a statement reported by The Guardian. “DES has met regularly with Adani to ensure that the plan is robust and is well-placed to deliver the best outcomes for the protection of the black-throated finch.”
The conservationists are still not convinced that the plan will do enough to protect the most significant known population of the finch that lives next to the Carmichael site of the mine in the Galilee Basin.
“The obliteration of the bird’s stronghold in the Galilee Basin is the same as shooting them,” Former Greens leader and Stop Adani campaigner Bob Brown said in a statement reported by SBS News.
As Adani stated, it will preserve an area next to the mine site for the black-throated finch, species listed as endangered both nationally and in Queensland. However, Brendan Wintle, the Melbourne University Conservation Ecology Professor who also led a review by Adani’s finch management plan scientists, commissioned by the Queensland government, expressed his disagreement to the said Adani plan. He also explained to The Guardian why it might not be effective.
“They currently don’t exist there and they don’t currently occupy that habitat,” Wintle said. “They need particular grass species to feed. There doesn’t appear to be the appropriate grasses on the site. It’s the wrong ecology. They’ve had the opportunity to breed there for 10,000 years and they haven’t. This project will significantly increase the risk of extinction for the finch.”
Scientists raised the question on Adani’s offset plan for the bird proposing for conserving the vegetation for the species on land next to the Carmichael site.
Friday, Adani’s mining CEO Lucas Dow was asked how it thought it could get the birds to move to the designated area.
“One of the key things with the bird is its prevalence around water source. So there’s ways to manage that. Importantly we’ll do that under the expertise of ecologists and experts in these activities,” he said in reply.
Now Adani requires one state approval for its groundwater managing plans before it can begin preliminary construction like clearing the land and road access development at the mine site. However, before it can start extracting coal, it will still need environmental approvals from the federal government.
The groundwater decision is due June 13, SBS News reported.
The Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk had urged on approval deadlines like setting a three-week deadline for two environmental approvals, and finch plan was one of them after the defeat of Labor during regions’ federal elections this month. Hence, there is anxiety for the jobs Adani has promised.
“We’re obviously encouraged to have that in our hands,” Dow said of the finch plan approval, as Australia’s ABC News reported. “We obviously appreciate that the Queensland Department of Environment and Science has met their self-imposed timing to be able to conclude this.”
However, environmental groups raised questions on the approval process.
“Adani’s Carmichael project is an instrument of destruction and climate disaster that the Australian legal and regulatory system isn’t designed to see for what it is,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter said in a Twitter thread.
Christian Slattery of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) agreed to that.
“This process is the result of Adani and their mates in the mining industry pressuring the State Government, and rather than stand up to these corporate bullies, the Queensland Government has rolled out the red carpet for them,” he told ABC News. “Frankly, the whole process of approvals for this mine stinks.”