The way is now clear for Adani’s Carmichael Mine project even as it has obtained all environmental clearances and other necessary approvals, according to Harinder Sidhu, Australian High Commissioner to India.

“The Adani investment proposal has now got the environmental approvals. It has everything it needs now. The way is now clear for Adani,” Sidhu said during an event by ICRIER on Wednesday.

The project in the Galilee Basin, which entails an investment of $16 billion for building one of the world’s largest coal mines, has been subject to much controversy as the proposed coal mine is located near the environmentally-sensitive Great Barrier Reef. In February, the Queensland state granted environmental approval to the project. Prior to this, it had obtained clearances from the federal government.

The newly appointed Australian High Commissioner also talked about the proposed India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

She said although the negotiations are at an advanced stage, it will not be feasible to commit to a timeline as to when it will be concluded because she is representing a care-taker government.

The India-Australia CECA had a deadline of December 2015 for it to be concluded.

“These are genuine complex negotiations. We are having the talks and talks are moving forward. This is in advanced stage and we are not far from conclusion,” Sidhu said.

She said the CECA will give India access to the world’s twelfth largest economy, an affluent market with the world’s fifth highest per capita income.

“With over half of India’s exports to Australia currently facing tariffs, it would quickly put India on the same tariff-free footing as our existing FTA partners, such as China – including for key Indian exports such as textiles and clothing, auto parts and jewellery. And it would facilitate investment flows with Australia, which has the world’s third largest pool of investment funds under management,” she said.

Sidhu said although India has undertaken substantial economic reform, average tariff levels continue to remain high.

“The Indian government continues to press ahead with its program to improve the workings of the economy, including in important areas such as tax reform, bankruptcy legislation and cutting red tape. Australia welcomes these efforts. It will be equally important to achieve reform on the trade policy front,” she added.

India-Australia started discussing the CECA in 2011. However, it has been mired in differences over giving greater market access to Australian dairy products and wines, whereas, India has been demanding relaxation for its professionals under services trade.