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Australian Carmichael 'mega-mine' approved by government

The Queensland government has approved three leases for Indian company Adani to build a coal mine and rail project in central Queensland.05 Apr 2016

The Carmichael mine project is worth AU$21.7 billion ($16.5 billion) and will bring 'thousands of new jobs', the government said.

The area is estimated to contain 11 billion tonnes of thermal coal. The leases allow mining and the development of infrastructure such as haul roads, buildings, workshops, power lines, workers’ camp and pipelines, the Queensland government said.

Adani has said the mine, rail and port project will generate more than 5000 jobs at the peak of construction and more than 4500 jobs at the peak of operations.

Queensland premier Annastascia Palaszczuk said: "I know the people of north and central Queensland will welcome this latest progress for the potential jobs and economic development it brings closer for their communities."

"At the same time, stringent conditions will continue to protect the environment, landholders’ and traditional owners’ interests, and our iconic Great Barrier Reef," she said.

Dredge spoil will not be allowed to be dumped on the wetlands or in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Palaszczuk said.

Minister for natural resources and mines Anthony Lynham said there would be no dredging until Adani demonstrates financial closure and Queensland taxpayers will not fund infrastructure for the project.

The Australian Conservation Foundation said that granting the leases was "grossly irresponsible" and that it is challenging the approval of the project on the basis that "the approval of the massive pollution-producing coal mine is inconsistent with Australia’s international obligations to protect the World Heritage-listed Barrier Reef".