THE Federal approval for Adani Mining to develop its monster Carmichael coal mine 190km west of Mackay has drawn mixed reactions.
They include government MPs who applaud its economic value and job creation, frustrated landholders whose rural holdings will be dissected by rail lines, to ongoing anger from green and environmental groups.
The Indian-owned coal company plans to develop Carmichael into an open cut and underground mine mix on a 44,700 hectare site in what would become one of the world's biggest coal mines with an operational 60 to 90-year mine life and a resource value of at least $300 billion.
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen hailed the project as "adding almost a billion dollars to the Mackay economy" with a resource value of $5 billion per annum for 60 years.
"It will generate an estimated 2475 construction jobs and a further 3920 jobs during the operations phase," he said.
With Adani proposing to ship 60 million tonne of thermal coal per annum, the Mackay Conservation Group accused the government of being "blind to the devastation" the unacceptable development and infrastructure would cause to the region including rail lines to the controversial planned expansion of the port at Abbot Point, affect on habitat and environment, and drops in the water table.
"The mine will use 12 billion litres of water every year. This water will be pumped from underground sources which are vital to maintaining agriculture and wildlife in this dry environment," group coordinator Ellen Roberts said.
For the Dennis families who operate nearby cattle properties including Old Twin Hills and Elgin Downs, the official announcement to approve the Galilee Basin mine was expected but not easy because of the impact on cattle grazing and their properties daily operations.
Tricia Dennis said the coal carrying rail corridor would travel 22km through their property - some of its most productive cattle fattening grasslands on the floodplain. It would divide their paddocks and at Elgin Downs "cut off" 20,000 acres.
"In flood the line will cut off the high ground for the cattle to escape too. The lines will back up the water and the ponded water will kill off the grasses," she said.
"All this water has to go somewhere and will likely cause severe erosion. There is potential for significant environmental impact to the flood plains.
"It's an environmental disaster waiting to happen, putting an obstruction in front of moving water.
"No, it's not really a good day. The government has done everything in its power to assist the mining sector."
Lock the Gate's Central Queensland spokeswoman Ellie Smith said Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt's approval "effectively admits that the mine will affect the Great Artesian Basin".
"You can't build one of the biggest coal mines in the world without doing great damage to ground and surface water systems and the communities that depend on them," she said.
"It's not possible for any conditions to protect the bushland and water systems in the region from a mine this size - it is quite simply not safe and not appropriate."
"Mr Hunt has ignored his own panel of top water scientists and is putting the Great Artesian Basin at further risk by allowing mine dewatering to drain the Basin.
"If the conditions set by Minister Hunt and the Queensland Government are adhered to it will be a number of years before work can start at the site. Adani's aggressive push into the Galilee Basin will fall apart when they begin to try to implement the promises they've made to the government."
"Adani has a dreadful history of environmental vandalism yet both the state and federal government choose to ignore this."
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