The Australian federal government has been studying for a while the possibility of creating a mega mine in the special area that is the home of the Galilee Basin, in Queensland. And the approval is finally out. The project, entitled Kevin’s Corner, will be composed of 11 underground mines and is expected to produce 300,000 million tonnes of coal per year. However, not even these amazing numbers can convince several locals and most environmental groups in the country.

As a matter of fact, the Australian environmentalists claim that Kevin’s Corner mine will damage the local watercourses and have already filed a legal action to halt what is set to be the country’s biggest coal mine. To be fair, they are right in some points: the Indian-Australian consortium GVK-Hancock, which will manage and explore the pit, already admitted that the massive mining facility will affect the surrounding aquifers.

Nevertheless, the venture got the necessary ‘green light’ from the government, but not without several conditions attached to the exploration contract. The consortium will have, for example, to create a program that can successfully protect the flora and fauna of the region. GVK-Hancock will also be required to submit a water monitoring and management plan, documents that will help to “establish baseline data for water quality”. This report will have to be peer reviewed and approved by Greg Hunt, Australia’s federal environment minister.

Still, the carbon emissions from the coal mined at Kevin’s Corner are estimated around 58m tonnes a year, which is more than the entire annual emissions released by Denmark. Yes, a whole country!

Even with all the environmental precautions, one of the major concerns regarding the mining operation will always be the ecological consequences, especially because Kevin’s Corner is dangerously close to the Great Barrier Reef.

Is more money really worth the risk? That is a question that will only be answered in due time. While the mine is not operating, keep up with the numbers!