Australia's most controversial mine has just been approved again

PM Malcolm Turnbull and environment minister Greg Hunt. Photo: Stefan Postles/Getty Images.

Queensland’s Carmichael coal mine was given a new lease of life today after environment minister Greg Hunt once again approved the controversial $16 billion project.

In August, the project was halted after the Federal Court overturned approval, ruling that Hunt had failed to properly consider advice about two threatened species – the yakka skink and the ornamental snake – on the site.

Another legal challenge against this latest approval may be launched, but the federal government has been attempting to change the law in a bid to stop environmentalists using the legal system to block Indian company Adani’s plans for Australia’s largest coal mine.

Opposition to the Galilee Basin mine is also centred around the fact that the coal will be shipped out via Abbot Point and the Great Barrier Reef.

In announcing his decision today, Hunt said the project is now under 36 of the strictest conditions in Australian history, including increased groundwater monitoring and research programs to help conserve threatened species.

Adani says the project, which also includes a rail line covering the 300km between the mine and port, will generate around 10,000 jobs and $22 billion in royalties and taxes for government, describing the Federal Court’s earlier decision as a “technical error” and adding that any environmental concerns had now been addressed.

But the project still faces a number of hurdles, including declining global demand for coal and funding challenges, with the NAB announcing last month it too was among several banks that will not fund the project.

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