Galilee Basin coal export projects map, showing coal mines in Queensland, Australia. Graphic: GalileeBasin.org

3 April 2016 (ABC News) – The Queensland Government has approved mining leases for the $21.7 billion Carmichael coal mine and rail project in the Galilee Basin.

State Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham on Sunday approved the three individual mining leases about 160 kilometres north-west of Clermont for Indian company Adani.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was a major step forward for the project after "extensive government and community scrutiny".

"Some approvals are still required before construction can start and ultimately committing to the project will be a decision from Adani," she said.

She said stringent controls would continue to protect the environment and the Great Barrier Reef, as well as the interests of landholders and traditional owners.

"We are talking about thousands and thousands of jobs - 5,000 jobs from this project during construction and another 4,500 during the peak of its operations - it means jobs for local people as well," she said. […]

The project has received widespread criticism from environmental groups who say it will have catastrophic impacts for the Great Barrier Reef.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific spokeswoman Shani Tager said in a statement the State Government's decision was "appalling", and came as the Great Barrier Reef suffered severe coral bleaching.

"Coral scientists, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and even the Queensland Government have acknowledged the severity of this latest bleaching," she said.

"The federal and Queensland environment ministers are wringing their hands, despairing over the state of the Great Barrier Reef, yet at the same time they are paving the way for the nation's biggest coal mine - a development that can only harm the reef.

"Protecting the reef and approving the Carmichael mining lease are diametrically opposed - you cannot do both." [more]

Carmichael coal mine: Mining leases approved for $21 billion project in Queensland's Galilee Basin

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