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Coast and Country reveals Adani undertakes illegal activities, again



5 June 2019

Coast and Country reveals Adani undertakes illegal activities, again

Today Coast and Country release new damning evidence showing unlawful vegetation clearing at the Adani Carmichael Coal Mine site.

“The satellite and aerial imagery clearly show Adani has once again breached its environmental approval, committing offences under Queensland law”, said Derec Davies of Coast and Country.

“In late March 2019 Adani started clearing vegetation in potential Black-throated Finch habitat. They bulldozed roughly 27,000 square metres of vegetation prior to approval. Adani then posted the illegal act on Facebook.”

“This is part of a pattern of non-compliance at the mine site and at other locations operated by Adani, including at its Abbot Point Port. It appears Adani is a repeat offender and can’t be trusted to protect Queensland water and natural environment”.

Adani has disturbed the mine site without approval, clearing trees and vegetation which includes potential Black-throated Finch habitat to create:

  • 9 significant sites for drill pads
  • 3 larger sites which could be used for automated drilling machines, and
  • 8 new mine site roads

“It is time for Queensland Environment Minister Enoch to put the breaks on Adani. Fast tracking the Adani coal mine approval is not good for Queensland, and it undermines the integrity and separation of the public service”, said Davies.

“Hundreds of thousands of people have placed their trust in the Queensland government to protect our water and the reef. In return, Queensland’s Minister Enoch and Premier Palaszczuk have chosen to fast track approvals for a company that blatantly breaks the law.

“This is the second breach of environmental law in 12 months, and should provide the Queensland government with significant cause for concern. Coast and Country calls on the Department of Environment and Science to investigate this issue, and to execute an enforcement action to limit further environmental harm. Adani, just like any other company or resident of Queensland, must comply with Queensland laws.

Adani start work on the Carmichael Coal Mine breaching its Environmental Authority


There is clear evidence, collected via on ground inspections, high resolution satellite and aerial imagery, that Adani has committed offences under both Queensland and Commonwealth law.

Adani has started work on the Carmichael Coal Mine earlier than permitted, breaching its Environmental Authority. It has started construction before important water plans have been approved. This high impact work creates serious risks for Queensland’s groundwater, the ancient Doongmabulla and Yukanna Kumoo springs complexes and the species that rely on the springs.

This work includes:

  • Putting in permanent infrastructure so Adani can use unlimited groundwater at the mine site, drilling six of its 48 groundwater bores, and starting operations to ‘dewater’ the coal seam. By drilling into the aquifers connected to the Great Artesian Basin, Adani has potentially begun depressuring the source aquifer for the ancient Doongmabulla Springs, which could cause the springs to become extinct.
  • Constructing access roads and installing permanent infrastructure, eg to enable drilling, parking and water storage.
  • Clearing trees and other vegetation for the construction of six dewatering bores, disturbing a significant land area of 28,238 square metres (around the size of Brisbane’s Gabba).
  • Adani’s head of Environment and Sustainability has provided false and misleading statements to the Queensland Department of Environment and Science in its latest and first Annual Return, failing to record the construction work and reporting that Adani had complied with their Environmental Authority.

What are the consequences of this work?

Adani has not yet received approval for its Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Management Plan (GDEMP). This plan is designed to protect precious groundwater, aquifers and sensitive threatened ecosystems from Adani’s mine project, which will use vast quantities of groundwater. Adani’s draft GDEMP has been widely criticised as inadequate.

Adani has begun drilling water bores before crucial scientific research has been completed to assess the damage the mine could do to groundwater and ancient springs. The Doongmabulla Springs Complex – nationally important wetlands near the mine – are listed as “threatened ecological communities” and have been identified in the Queensland Land Court as having exceptional ecological significance. They are home to several endemic and threatened species which are protected at law. Adani has not identified the source of this springs. Water scientists point to the risk that dewatering coal seams before the source aquifer is identified will cause permanent damage to the springs. If the springs dry up this will constitute serious environmental harm, with endemic species becoming extinct at the site. These springs cannot be repaired or ‘offset’.

The drilling of groundwater bores may well involve employing dangerous chemicals and other compounds, including biocides. These are often used when drilling in locations where high pressure aquifers and artesian bores are present.