Adani Group has kicked off construction at its controversial Carmichael coal and rail project in Australia’s Galilee Basin after receiving last week approval from the Queensland government to break ground.
The company said it already had around 60 workers at the location, in charge of surveying and clearing for access to the mine site.
They are also undertaking fencing, geotech and water management activities which “are being conducted safely and in line with environmental approvals,” the company tweeted.
Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science (DES) approval of Adani’s groundwater management plan (GDEMP) for the mine last week, marked the end of an almost 10-year wait, during which the proposed mine faced steady resistance by environmental groups.
But opponents to the project are not resting. More than 700 people rallied in the Queensland’s capital on Friday evening, calling on the state government to “tear up the contracts” and “revoke” approvals for the mine.
Local and international detractors, including the scientific, educational and cultural arm of the United Nations, (UNESCO), worry about the impact on marine ecosystems, particularly by the Great Barrier Reef.
The Carmichael project, acquired by the Indian conglomerate in 2010, is expected to produce 8-10 million tonnes of thermal coal a year and cost A$2 billion ($1.4 billion) during its initial phase.
According to official estimations, the mine will contribute $2.97 billion each year to Queensland’s economy and will create 1,500 direct and 6,750 indirect jobs during ramp up and construction.