Giant Australian coal mine near Reef one step closer

Indian conglomerate Adani Group’s $16bn (A$21.7bn) Carmichael coal and infrastructure project in Australia has cleared another major hurdle with Queensland approving a rail line and construction camp.

The mine will consist of six open-cut pits and up to five underground mines

According to a statement from the Queensland ministry of mines it is the "final major State and Federal Government approval" for the proposed mine, set to become Australia's largest.

The rail section approved this week will form part of the 389 kilometre heavy haul railway line from the mine in the Galilee Basin to the coal export Port of Abbot Point.

The project still needs a water licence approved and hopes to secure a Federal Government loan reports ABC:

The mine will consist of six open-cut pits and up to five underground mines, and will supply Indian power plants with enough coal to generate electricity for up to 100 million people.

The controversial project involves dredging 1.1 million cubic metres of spoil near the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which will then be disposed of on land.

Since first proposed, Carmichael has faced opposition from organizations ranging from the United Nations to various environmental groups.

Adani $12 billion Carmichael coal project clears latest hurdle

Galilee Basin coal export projects map. (Courtesy of GalileeBasin.org)

The project was approved by the Australian government over a year ago, under what environment minister Greg Hunt called “the strictest conditions in Australian history."

Adani has said legal costs and cutting its way through the environmental hurdles had so far cost it $120 million.

According to official estimates, Carmichael will contribute some $3 billion a year to Queensland’s economy and has the potential to create 6,400 new jobs: around 2,500 construction positions and 3,900 operational posts. Adani hopes to start construction in the second half of next year.