STILL FIGHTING: Minister for Resources Senator Matt Canavan was pleased to see Adani overcome their latest environmentalist legal challenge.
STILL FIGHTING: Minister for Resources Senator Matt Canavan was pleased to see Adani overcome their latest environmentalist legal challenge. Leighton Smith

Adani fends off another environmentalist challenge

LIKE a plucky prize fighter with a granite chin, Adani's Carmichael mine has withstood yet another legal barrage from environmentalists.

According to Resources Minister Matt Canavan, Adani's Carmichael mine's undefeated record of 11-0 against environmentalist legal challenges now rivalled boxing legend Mike Tyson's impressive career record.

Acting on evidence gathered by conservation groups, an investigation was launched by the Environment Department last September into allegations that Adani broke the law by sinking six bores.

These bores were claimed to be de-watering bores (used to depressurise the coal seam and to lower groundwater levels for open cut and underground operations), which were alleged to signify Adani's commencement of mining operations at its Carmichael mine site.

It was alleged the activity broke the law under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act before Adani's water plans were approved.

READ: Adani rebuts claims of groundwater interference

Adani said in September that drilling has been undertaken to take geological samples and monitor underground water levels.

New documents have surfaced revealing the department's office of compliance had concluded in late October that "its assessment of the matter relating to the drilling of six bores/pads ... found that Adani has not breached the conditions of the EPBC Act approval".

Yesterday an exultant Senator Canavan revelled in another defeat of green activist claims against Adani for a project he said was the "most assessed in the nation's history".

"Time and time again we have allegations and claims made about the activities of Adani and other coal mining companies that, more often than not, are proven to be complete rubbish," Senator Canavan said.

"The green activists are losing credibility because they keep making allegations which are proven to be false.

"The greenies in this debate are being nothing more than the boy who cried wolf."

Speaking in Rockhampton yesterday, Queensland Greens mining spokeswoman Larissa Waters said she was unhappy with the result of the department's investigation saying it lacked rigour, left questions unanswered and was hampered by staff cuts.

"I read the documents and it looks like not all the right questions were asked and therefore weren't answered," Senator Waters said.

"I would like to see them redo the investigation and properly staff it.

"Adani are still being sued by the Queensland Government for breaching environmental laws, they are by no means in the clear."

She said the mine lacked the necessary approvals and was still far from proceeding.

READ: Adani hits out at delays by the State Government

The full Environment Department response:

The Department conducted enquiries into an allegation that Adani Mining Pty Ltd (Adani) had commenced mining operations before all necessary environmental management plans were in place and potentially breached its federal EPBC Act approval for the Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Infrastructure Project.

Compliance officers from the Department visited the site to determine whether the conditions attached to the approval were complied with.

The Department found that Adani had not breached the conditions of the EPBC Act approval.

The Department found that Adani had drilled bores for exploratory surveys to investigate groundwater flow rates, to assess water yield, and assist in developing a groundwater model. No mining operations have commenced.

The Department has in place a comprehensive compliance monitoring program to ensure that holders of EPBC Act approvals comply with the conditions of approvals.

The program includes on-site inspections, desktop reviews and audits. Any non-compliance identified with a condition of approval will be addressed in accordance with the Department's EPBC Act Compliance and Enforcement Policy and the requirements of the EPBC Act.