OUTBACK SPRING: Doongmabulla Springs are located 11km from the proposed Carmichael mine site.
OUTBACK SPRING: Doongmabulla Springs are located 11km from the proposed Carmichael mine site. LOCK THE GATE

Adani in late scramble after fresh concerns over groundwater

ADANI is currently amid a last-minute scramble to provide the Department of Environment and Science with an updated version of its groundwater dependent ecosystem management plan for the Carmichael coal mine.

The DES is set to make a decision on the project's GDEMP on Thursday but had raised fresh concerns with the plan last week.

The DES confirmed it had provided Adani with "additional requirements" on Friday after referring to Geoscience Australia and CSRIO to provide further advice.

An Adani spokesperson told The Australian on Sunday that the miner would be working "constructively" with the DES to amend the plan.

It remains unclear what amendments were required by the proponent but Adani remained certain the time frame for approvals remained unimpeded.

"Work remains on schedule to enable (the department) to make a decision (on Thursday) in accordance with the schedule set out by the Co-ordinator-General," an Adani spokeswoman said yesterday.


Doongmabulla springs graphic
Doongmabulla springs graphic Adani Australia

However, in an online article on academic publication The Conversation, RMIT Associate Professor in Environmental Engineering Matthew Currell and Flinders University Professor of Hydrogeology Adrian Werner pointed our flaws in the GDEMP.

The article said three major flaws were pointed out by the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia's review.

The three flaws included an over-prediction of flow from the Carmichael River to groundwater, the hydraulic parameters chosen for key geological units, and Bore heights used to calibrate the model were incorrect.

All of which, the professors believed would suggest "drawdown at the Doongmabulla Springs will in all likelihood be higher than required under Adani's federal approval conditions."

In a disclosure statement on The Conversation's article, it was made transparent that Prof Werner had received funding from environmental law firm, Environmental Defenders Office to serve as an expert witness in the Queensland Land Court Case "Adani Mining Pty Ltd v Land Services of Coast and Country Inc & Ors (2015) QLC 48".

Assc Prof Currell did not have any interests to disclose in the statement.

An Adani spokesperson responded saying the company was only paying attention the opinion of those directly in the approvals process.

""The Department of Environment and Science has been reviewing the groundwater management plans for more than two years, across 11 versions," the spokesperson said. 

"In addition, pre-eminent scientific bodies CSIRO and Geoscience Australia have also conducted reviews of the groundwater management plans.

  "We'll pay attention to the experts and reputable advice of those who have been involved throughout this process, including the CSIRO, Geoscience Australia, the Federal Department of Environment and Energy and the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, as they are the authority as it pertains to the review and finalisation process."   

It is understood Adani is on track to providing the DES an amended plan later today.