Media release

MEDIA BRIEF: How Adani got its environmental approval

February 09, 2015

In a letter dated 9 February 2015, Environmental Justice Australia have asked Jon Black, Director General of the Queensland Environment Department, to investigate the process by which Adani received their environmental approval to operate.

A new investigation by Environmental Justice Australia has revealed that the Newman Government, in its rush to fast track Adani Mining’s application to operate the Carmichael mine, has overlooked Adani’s track record and failed to require Adani to respond to the issues.

Adani Mining is seeking approval to operate the largest coal mine in the southern hemisphere, in Queensland’s Galilee Basin – the $16.5 billion proposed Carmichael mine.

The Adani Group has consistently disregarded Indian environmental laws and caused serious damage. Nonetheless,the company has secured registration as a ‘suitable operator’ for the proposed Carmichael mine.

New investigations reveal that the Queensland environmental regulator rubber stamped the approval with an inadequate analysis of the suitability of Adani. The process for determining suitability was convoluted and inadequate.

Key issues:

Adani’s terrible track record. Adani has committed serious legal violations and caused extensive environmental harm in India. This record raises serious issues about Adani’s suitability to operate the Carmichael mine and needs to be investigated. The chief executive of the Queensland environment Department[1] should exercise his power under section 318R of the Environment Protection Act 1994 to investigate Adani Mining Pty Ltd’s suitability to operate in Queensland.

Inadequate scrutiny by Queensland officials. Although Adani Mining Pty Ltd has been registered as a ‘suitable operator’, there is no indication that its environmental record since 2010 has been considered by Queensland authorities.


Timeline: How Adani got its environmental approval
28 July 2010 Adani purchases environmental authority from another company in QLD
August 2010  The Department should have assessed their suitability, but no records were available
2010                    Adani’s coal fired power station and port destroys mangroves and creeks at Mundra in India
2010 Indian authorities issue notice to Adani asking them to show cause why their environmental licence to operate in Mundra should not be cancelled for violations of their environmental approval, coastal zone regulation, and Coastal Zone Management Plan
July 2011 Adani found to have been involved with the purchase of 7.7 million tonnes of illegal iron ore exports, and to have bribed customs officials, the police, the State Pollution Control Board, local politicians and others.
11 August 2011 Adani’s Australian environmental authority changed, giving Adani permission to undertake very limited exploration activities on the site for the proposed Carmichael coal mine, including geological surveys, storing chemicals, treating sewage.  No fresh consideration of whether Adani is a suitable operator.
14 March 2012  Adani’s Australian environmental authority number changed and re-issued by Department due to ‘lost paperwork’.  No fresh consideration of whether Adani is a suitable operator.
31 March 2013   Queensland’s Environmental Protection Act 1994  amended to require a company to be registered as a ‘suitable operator’ before the Department can grant it an environmental authority.  Existing holders of environmental authorities, including Adani, deemed to be “suitable operators” by transitional legislation.
2013    More environmental damage found from Adani’s Mundra plant
December 2014 Adani issued notice by the state pollution control board in Goa, in relation to Mormugao Port, for polluting the air with coal dust because they did not take normal precautions to prevent this.
2015                            Adani has now received a total of five environmental authority permits for environmentally sensitive activities in Queensland – all without fresh consideration of whether Adani is a suitable operator.
2015 and beyond A further approval, for an environmental authority to operate the Carmichael coal mine, is currently the subject of legal proceedings before the Land Court of Queensland. At the conclusion of those proceedings, the Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection will consider the court’s judgment when deciding whether to grant that environmental authority. Once again, the environmental history and record of breaches by the Adani group will not be considered.

   [1] The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection

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