MELBOURNE, June 17 India's Adani Enterprises Ltd
faces a new delay on a planned coal mine in Australia,
amid worries that a port expansion to accommodate the project
could hurt the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.
Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt has extended his
review of Adani's A$16.5 billion ($15.5 billion) Carmichael coal
and rail project to August 1, a spokesperson for the minister
said on Tuesday.
"The date for a decision has been extended to ensure the
minister can thoroughly consider the large volume of material
associated with this project referral," Hunt's spokesperson said
in an email to Reuters.
The project in the untapped Galilee Basin, designed to
produce 60 million tonnes a year of thermal coal used in power
stations, has been attacked by green groups opposed to both new
coal mines and the rail lines and ports needed to ship the coal.
The port that Adani plans to use, Abbot Point, is facing a
legal challenge from green groups fighting an expansion that
will dredge up 3 million cubic metres of sand to be dumped near
the Great Barrier Reef.
The government's move to postpone a decision on the
Carmichael project comes just as UNESCO's World Heritage
Committee is due to consider a proposal to vote next year on
putting the Great Barrier Reef on the "in danger" list.
"Approving (the project) now would have been tantamount to
an act of provocation, with UNESCO currently mulling the status
of Australia's greatest natural icon," Greenpeace programme head
Ben Pearson said in a statement.
The state of Queensland, eager to promote new coal
developments to boost the economy, approved the project in May
with 190 conditions.
($1 = 1.0639 Australian Dollars)
(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Richard Pullin)