Mining giant Adani has received a criminal conviction over “false or misleading” documents it gave to Queensland's environmental regulator.

Adani pleaded guilty to giving “false or misleading documents to an administering authority” in court this week.

The company faced a maximum fine of $3 million, but its penalty was set at just $20,000.

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) says Adani filed its annual return in March 2018 with a graph that stated it had not cleared any land on the Carmichael mine site.

The DES says it became aware of the offence six months later.

It alleged that Adani “knew or ought reasonably to have known [the document] was false or misleading”.

Almost two weeks after official found land-clearing had occurred, Adani amended its return to declare a total of 132 hectares cleared, including 5.8 hectares in the reporting period.

Adani says the department has “chosen to prosecute Adani Mining for an administrative error … which we self-reported”.

“The prosecution is proceeding despite the fact all relevant works were legal, and fully complied with our project conditions, and despite there being no environmental harm,” a spokesperson said.

“Improvements to internal processes were introduced at the time the administrative error was discovered and reported by us to ensure paperwork errors of this nature are avoided in the future.

“We will continue to participate in the relevant legal processes required to resolve this matter.”