The southern black-throated finch is an endangered species.
The southern black-throated finch is an endangered species.

Adani mine the only one causing a flap

A MAJOR new coalmine was waved through environmental approvals by the Queensland Government despite the presence of the same bird that has left Adani's Carmichael project languishing in limbo.

The Courier-Mail can reveal that official reports found the endangered black-throated finch likely lived on land within the footprint of the $1.7 billion Byerwen open-cut coalmine in the Bowen Basin.

The presence of the bird was detailed in proponent QCoal's environmental impact statement that was approved by the Queensland's co-ordinator-general in 2014.

QCoal was allowed to proceed with the 10 million tonne-a-year mine in exchange for preserving thousands of hectares of land to benefit several at-risk species.

These included the endangered black-throated finch which was deemed to "likely occur" within the mine area after sightings during the EIS process.

"Impacts on the black-throated finch will be mitigated by conducting detailed searches of nesting habitat within proximity to important water sources and replicating suitable habitats where possible," the co-ordinator general's approval stated.

Open cut coal mining (File picture)
Open cut coal mining (File picture)

The company's offset management plan mirrors what Adani has proposed for the Carmichael coalmine, which will also produce 10 million tonne a year during its first phase.

However, the State Government's decision not to intervene with QCoal's plans when it ticked off the mine's environmental approvals are in stark contrast to its controversial move to appoint a panel of experts to conduct a review of the Carmichael mine's management plans.

The revelation came as Government ministers yesterday lauded their efforts approving resources projects, including Byerwen, ahead of a taxpayer-funded advertising blitz in regional Queensland where Federal Labor is facing criticism over Adani.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the approval of Byerwen exposed Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's prejudice against Adani.

"Labor has allowed ideology to corrupt the approval process of a major Queensland resources project that would generate thousands of jobs," she said.

A spokesman for Ms Palaszczuk insisted the different approaches were because the Byerwen site was thought to contain fewer finches.

"By contrast, the site of the proposed Carmichael mine is known to be home to the most significant population of the black-throated finch," he said.

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Ian Macfarlane urged the Government to get on with approving the $60 billion in resources projects in the approvals pipeline.

"It's great to celebrate the investment secured over the last four years, but no one won a race running backwards," he said.