Adani sought the names of scientists reviewing a plan for its Qld coal mine
Adani sought the names of scientists reviewing a plan for its Qld coal mine

Adani wanted names of CSIRO scientists

ADANI  tried to get the names of scientists reviewing a crucial plan for its Queensland mine, fearing they might be anti-coal activists.

The ABC has cited emails - obtained under freedom of information by the Lock The Gate environment group - showing Adani demanded the federal government reveal the names of the scientists.

"Adani simply wants to know who is involved in the review to provide it with peace of mind that it is being treated fairly and that the review will not be hijacked by activists with a political, as opposed to scientific, agenda," Adani told the federal environment department on January 25.

That was well before scientists from the CSIRO and Geoscience Australia reported back to government on their review of Adani's plans to manage groundwater its central Queensland mine site.

Adani was unable to proceed with building the mine until that plan was approved by both the state and federal governments.

The plan won federal ministerial approval on April 8, two days before the May 18 election was called. The Queensland government gave it the nod in mind-June.

CSIRO staff association secretary Sam Popovski told the ABC the revelations were alarming, and that Adani also trawled through scientists' social media accounts.

"We're very concerned on behalf of our scientists at the CSIRO that a big company would go into looking at the personal lives of our members, including trawling their social media, in order to potentially discredit their work," he said.

"It was clear that Adani seemed to be suggesting bias, or potential bias, way before any of the scientific evidence was actually presented to the department."

The scientists names were not handed over, the federal environment department has said.

Adani said it had written to the department in January to request "assurance that individuals involved in any review processes were independent".

This followed "concerning reports at the time that the state environmental regulator had commissioned a review which constituted individuals who had expressed anti-coal, anti-mining sentiments", it said.

AAP is seeking additional comment from Adani.