The Queensland Government has given permission that could see Adani get started on Australia’s largest coal mine.

Just days after Adani’s Australian chief complained that the lack of government approval was “incentivising” green activists, environmental authority for the Carmichael mine was granted.

It is not a full mining lease, but does move the project closer to obtaining one.

The environmental approval clears one largely bureaucratic barrier, but Adani still needs to convince the authorities it has “financial closure” – access to enough of the $16.5 billion required for the north Queensland mine, rail and port project.

If it can show it has the money, the Indian mining firm should be allowed to begin dredging near Great Barrier Reef waters to expand the Abbot Point export facility.

There is speculation that the funding will be less than forthcoming, due to the deep dip in global coal demand and Indian government moves to use less imported thermal coal.

The Carmichael project has faced its share of challenges, fending off court action from traditional owners and the Australian Conservation Foundation, as well as criticism for not disclosing the dodgy environmental history of one of its executives.

Adani still has to reach compensation agreements with a number of local governments over the project’s use of their roads.

It also needs Indigenous land use agreements to be signed with traditional owners of the sites for works including an airstrip and workers’ camp.