Adani Guilty of Criminal Offence Over Mine Site Land Clearing

6 February 2020


Adani today admitted to providing false or misleading information to the Queensland Government over its land clearing activities, after an investigation sparked by evidence discovered by Coast and Country.

Adani’s guilty plea in the Brisbane Magistrates Court relates to its 2018 Annual Return, which indicated the company had undertaken no land clearing at its controversial Carmichael mine site.

Evidence subsequently presented to the Queensland Government by Coast and Country, as represented by the Environmental Defenders Office – including high-definition aerial footage – clearly showed extensive land clearing had already taken place at the mine site by the time Adani lodged its Annual Return.

Today, the Brisbane Magistrates Court convicted and sentenced Adani for a criminal offence under s 480 Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld) – providing false or misleading documents to the Department of Environment and Science.

Derec Davies of Coast and Country said: “Despite Adani’s misleading annual return, we were able to identify land clearing activities at the Carmichael mine site and provided high-resolution satellite imagery evidence to the Department of Environment.

“Adani can’t be trusted. Time and time again the public has heard of environmental damage caused by Adani in Australia, and around the world. In this instance they were caught red-handed being misleading about it. The company then tried to excuse its false and misleading statement in documents as an administrative error.

“Adani now has a criminal conviction here in Australia. This gives the Queensland Government the ability to recall Adani’s suitable operator registration, which effectively would terminate the Carmichael Coal Mine.”

Environmental Defenders Office’s Brisbane Executive Director and solicitor Jo-Anne Bragg said, “Today’s guilty plea and sentencing is an important outcome and we congratulate the Queensland Government for successfully prosecuting Adani for providing false or misleading information.

“Our client obtained evidence that Adani had provided false documents to the Queensland Government. This was not self-reported by the company – it had to be discovered by members of the public .

“Queenslanders expect that when you break the law you face consequences – and today Adani has been issued with a penalty.

“However, given the criminal nature of this conviction the Queensland Government must now consider cancelling or suspending Adani’s suitable operator registration.”

Media contact

Derec Davies – 0421 835 587

Anthony Gough (EDO)– 0432 973 443


12 September 2018 – Public Statement on initial evidence of false and misleading information provided to the Queensland Government, including facts and figures.

From 2 March 2018 vegetation clearing and bore drilling commenced at sites on the Carmichael Coal Mine site.

Around 3 April 2018 Adani reported in its Annual Return that zero site works and vegetation clearing had been undertaken.

On 7 September 2018 evidence regarding the site clearing and bores was provided to the Queensland Government. In the following days Department of Environment and Science investigators visited the Adani Carmichael site.

On 18 Sept 2018 Adani – via a social media post – claimed this was merely an “administrative error”.

On the 16 July 2019 the Department of Environment and Science filed its prosecution case in the Queensland Magistrate Court against Adani Mining Pty Ltd for providing false or misleading documents to the Queensland Government.

At the same time the Department of Environment and Science reported Adani would not be prosecuted over other allegations relating to the clearing of land and the drilling of dewatering bores at the mine site.