Environment Minister Melissa Price announced that she has approved groundwater management plans submitted by the Adani Group after the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and Geoscience Australia found that they meet scientific requirements, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
This decision does not comprise the final approval for this project, Price said in her statement.
The groundwater management plan also requires approval from the state government, Reuters was told last week by the state's environmental department, which is also assessing a management plan for an endangered bird.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has publicly rebuked one of his Queensland Senators for threatening the Environment Minister over the Adani coal mine. The Federal and Queensland Governments have only finalised or approved 16 of 25 environmental plans to date.
The Groundwater Dependent Ecosystem Management Plan (GDEMP) requires that Adani ensure the protection of the Doongmabulla Springs and animals that rely on the groundwater in the area surrounding the mine.
"The government will make all decisions based on the expert scientific advice of organisations, not just including the Department of Environment, but Geoscience Australia and the CSIRO, " he said. The other was the Black-throated Finch Management Plan.
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"We're. looking forward to delivering the thousands of jobs our project will create for people in north and central Queensland", Lucas Dow, chief executive of Adani Mining, said in a statement. "Now we need the state Labor government to stop dragging their heels and get on with the job of creating these jobs".
The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) meanwhile called the environmental nod a milestone for the project's lengthy approval process.
Adani said previous year it would fully fund the coal mine and rail project on its own.
"Any politicisation of the approval processes for the Carmichael Coal project cast doubt over all proposed projects, their planned investment and their promised jobs".
The Lock The Gate Alliance, one of the most vocal activist groups campaigning against the project, said the approval set a risky precedent.
The Australian Conservation Foundation's Christian Slattery said "Coal-loving Coalition MPs appear to have strongarmed the Environment Minister into granting Adani access to Queensland's precious groundwater on the eve of the election".