In an epic David vs Goliath war for mining giant Adani, it seems despite not receiving financial backing, and public outcry to stop its Carmichael mine going ahead, it’s a tiny little bird that’s standing in the way of mining operations commencing.
There’s been a litany of hurdles Adani has had to overcome to get this far on the regulatory level, and one of the big thorns that remains in its toe is the humble black-throated finch.
Adani’s Carmichael mine is located in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland, one of the last remaining healthy habitats for the endangered bird species.
Adani put forward a Biodiversity Offset Strategy to relocate the finch, which has been approved by the Federal Department of Environment, but the State Government wasn’t as co-operative.
Adani’s CEO Lucas Dow said the company is ready to start operations tomorrow, and is often asked when “out and about in Townsville” when the big day will be.
“If we get the nod today, we can start tomorrow, that’s where we’re at,” he said.
“We’re mobilised, we’re ready and willing to go.”
Dow says the state department has made seven revisions to Adani’s finch relocation plan over the past 18 months, and at “the eleventh hour they’ve introduced an additional review … that may take at least eight weeks”.
Dow added Adani has spent close to $1 million on the finch in investigations.
“We’ve set aside large areas that are habitat for the black throated finch to ensure that species is well looked after …” he said.
It’s unclear how long the process could take to have the management plan approved, if it will be approved.
Clearing and fragmentation of woodland, riverside habitats and wattle shrubland, as well as degradation of habitat from a number of factors has led to the decline in the species.
In November Adani said its Carmichael operations would go ahead despite struggling to find financial backers, announcing it would self-fund the project.
By Nichola Davies