Adani battles harder for Carmichael coal mine

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The caption on India’s NDTV: “Adani’s plan to build one of the world’s biggest coal mines in Australia has been hampered time and again. “

Indian energy giant Adani is all out to push for its “Asian Century” dream as it announced it will go ahead with its Carmichael mine and rail project in central Queensland as soon as possible – defying oppositions.

Intense pressure from conservation groups have been spiraling over the years, but Adani said the project will finally take off soon with no time to waste. It says it has the cash to finance the project so bank funding will not be a problem. The announcement stunned the public knowing banks from Australia and beyond have ruled out lending the company due to its unfeasibility.

Mining lobby group the Minerals Council of Australia welcomed the news. CEO Tania Constable said it will benefit the Queensland and Australian economies — creating “thousands of new regional jobs and long-term investment in the mine and rail infrastructure.” Constable also noted the mine’s construction could open up the Galilee Basin to further coal development.

Federal Resources Minister Matt Canavan congratulated the company liking Adani as “a little Aussie battler”. He said “so many have written it off but they just keep chugging along.”

Canavan’s statement has a seed of truth and lies. Back in India, Adani has announced the project has already got a green light from the traditional owners of land in Australia.

The Indian NDTV media said, “Adani on Saturday said its $21.7-billion coal mine project in Australia finally received authorisation by traditional land owners, which the Indian mining giant termed was a “clear mandate” that the community supports the venture.”

However, Adani Mining chief executive officer Lucas Dow said the mine will begin only on a small scale – reducing  to a capacity of 27.5 million tonnes a year — less than half the size of the approved project. ABC reports HERE.

Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani meets with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in December last year and gives an ‘iron clad’ guarantee to prioritise local workers. Picture: Cameron Laird/AAPSource:AAP

Gautam Adani with former Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, right, and Martin Ferguson during a 2012 trade visit to India. Photograph: AAP

Hurdles

The Galilee Basin Traditional Owners reiterated Adani cannot go ahead without permission to dig on their ancestral lands. They said the Queensland Government has not extinguished their native title, which is crucial to the mine proceeding.

W&J Traditional Owner and lead spokesperson Adrian Burragubba said even if Adani’s announcement proves to be true, they do not have the final approvals or the financial close needed for the mine to proceed. They are also under investigation for environmental breaches on their country.

“It is a measure of Adani’s failure that they can’t obtain finance for the project they touted to our people. We rejected it when they first came to us and we reject it now, because Adani offers nothing of worth to our people and will destroy our country forever,” Burragubba said adding:

“We demand a guarantee from the Queensland Government they won’t now extinguish our native title for Adani. Queensland Labor has said they recognise that the registration of the Adani ILUA is contested and they acknowledge and respect our right to have our complaints considered and determined by a court.”

“We have an appeal before the full bench of the Federal Court. To act before this concludes would be to deny our rights and open the way for a grave injustice. Without our consent, the mine is not ready to proceed”. Read the statement HERE.

Stop Adani protest outside Kelly O’Dwyers Office, 2017. Photo: Australian Conservation Foundation

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) also released a statement opposing Adani’s announcement as it challenged elected representatives of the Australian Parliament.

Chief Executive Officer Kelly O’Shanassy stressed out the scientific evidence on the environmental impact of the project – not to mention the ongoing drought and bushfires in Queensland. She said, “Make no mistake. Many on both sides of politics understand burning the coal from the Adani mine and the broader Galilee Basin will be terribly damaging for our climate.”

The ACF has also lodged a challenge to Federal Environment Minister Melissa Price’s decision not to apply the water trigger in assessing water infrastructure for Adani’s proposed coal mine.

According to ACF,  Adani will take up to 12.5 billion litres of water – the equivalent of 5000 Olympic-sized swimming pools – from the Suttor River in central Queensland. Farmers and wetlands rely on the Suttor River, which floods and dries up at different times.

Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme project would supply the mine with water to wash coal, keep dust down and reduce fire hazards.

In September, an Environment Department spokesperson said: ”stand-alone proposals which involve only associated infrastructure, such as pipelines, are not captured by the water trigger because they do not directly involve the extraction of coal.”

O’Shanassy said ACF will argue the Minister made an error of law in not applying the water trigger. ACF will argue the pipeline is an essential infrastructure to service the coal mine and it would not be built at all if not for Adani’s mine. She stressed out, the water trigger should be applied.

O’Shanassy also said theACF is taking the Federal Government to court over its flawed process for assessing Adani’s plan for a water-guzzling pipeline to service its climate-wrecking coal mine.

The ACF lodged the documents with the Federal Court on December 5. ACF will be represented in court by barristers Kate Gover, Angus Scott, Neil Williams SC and the Environmental Defenders Office Queensland.

A signage at the Carmichael coal mine site. Photo: ABC

Related Stories

Federal Court overturns Adani’s Carmichael mine

Deutsche bank rebuffs Adani’s funding request

Big 4′ banks under pressure to rule out funding of coal projects

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‘Big 4′ banks under pressure to rule out funding of coal projects

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has released a report calling on Australia’s “big four” banks to rule out involvement in financing controversial coal projects proposed for Queensland’s Galilee Basin near the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area.

The report called ‘The Equator Principles and financing of coal projects in the Galilee Basin‘ names Australia’s “big four” banks   – Australia-New Zealand Banking Corp (ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), National Australia Bank (NAB), and Westpac Banking Corp – as signatories to the Equator Principles (EPs) and calls on all four to rule out any involvement in the Galilee Basin projects.

The report is a result of research undertaken by ACF energy analyst Tristan Knowles which investigates how Australian banks should deal with financing coal projects in the area. The EPs are a voluntary framework the banks have signed up to guide them in the assessment and management of environmental and social risk in the projects they consider financing.

Anti-coal activists hang a huge banner in front of Commonwealth Bank's headquarters, calling on to follow international banks: rule out finance for new coal export terminals at Abbot Point in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.  (Photo: Market Forces)

Anti-coal activists hang a banner in front of Commonwealth Bank’s headquarters, calling on to follow international banks: rule out finance for new coal export terminals at Abbot Point in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. (Photo: Market Forces)

The EPs serve as a guide to the best practices and a “gold standard” in environmental and social risk management. ACF said the EPs are relevant to proposed coal projects in the Galilee Basin because mines and infrastructure require project finance and advisory services to proceed. More notably, the project value is well over US$10 million – the current threshold for coverage by the EPs.

ACF insists that coal projects in the Galilee Basin are a litmus test for the EPs stating, “If they’re truly a gold standard for environmental and social risk management, Australian banks should rule out further financing of these projects because they will result in serious damage to the environment… We hope this report focuses the debate about Galilee Basin Coal projects back on the banks’ commitments to be environmental leaders.”

Anti-fossil fuel protesters call on Australian four major banks to divest from financing coal projects during the Divestment Day rally. (Photo: Market Forces)

Anti-fossil fuel protesters call on Australian four major banks to divest from financing coal projects during the Divestment Day rally. (Photo: Market Forces)

Several foreign banks have already backed out from financing Adani Group’s coal port expansion, including US banking giants Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase.

Prior to those banks’ rejection, the Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Barclays all ruled out funding the development of the Adani’s $16.5bn project

The report said the massive projects will destroy tens of thousands of hectares of land, consume huge amounts of water and potentially impact on the Great Artesian Basin, and result in significant greenhouse gas pollution.

The UN World Heritage Committee, which visited the site in 2013, also said coal projects will cause irreparable damage to the World Heritage Area and warned the Australian government to delist the site.

News blog link: The Green Journal @ Asian Correspondent