Digital Journal has been following the story of the legal challenges
surrounding the Adani Group's proposed mine in Queensland's Galilee Basin that would be the world's biggest - Three times the size of Paris, France.
The $16.5 billion investment by Adani Mining, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Adani Group, claims the so-called Carmichael mine will use both open-cut and underground methods to extract the coal, then transport it by rail 400 kilometers (249 miles) to an export terminal near the Great Barrier Reef. According to Adani, the project would also create 10,000 jobs.
The jobs claim was refuted in Queensland's Land Court when Adani’s expert witness, economist Jerome Fahrer from ACIL Allen consulting, rejected the 10,000 figure, saying the project would create less than 1,500 jobs. In May 2015 a complaint was lodged with the Australian Securities Exchange Commission
, alleging Adani was providing misleading information about the project.
In 2015, it was believed that Adani would walk away from the project, especially after financial support seemed to be drying up.
Two key project managers
for the Carmichael project, Parsons Brinckerhoff and South Korean construction company POSCO, also believed to be an investor in the Queensland project, were told to stop work on the project, rail line and port projects in the Galilee Basin.
Anti-coal's opposition focuses on government loan and clean coal tale
The BBC is reporting the big complaint making the rounds today is the Australian government's plan to give Adani a $1.0 billion loan to build its rail line to the coast. Many critics claim this infrastructure will become an obsolete asset in short order.
Frank Jotzo, director of the Australian National University's Centre for Climate Economics and Policy, told the BBC: "It's questionable whether this mine will still be a viable proposition in two decades' time, whereas infrastructure such as a rail line or port expansion [also planned by Adani] would have a lifetime of 50 to 100 years."
Professor Jotzo also is at odds with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's assertion that the mine will produce clean coal for the likes of India and Southeast Asian markets. He warns: "The opening up of new mining areas like the Galilee Basin is fundamentally incompatible with the global goal of well below two degrees."
And as for Turnbull's "clean coal" tale, according to the Australia Institute, the quality of coal in the Galilee Basin is among Australia's poorest in quality. Because dirty coal has a lower energy content, more has to be burned. Australia's federal Environment and Energy Minister, Josh Frydenberg, says it is a "moral case" for Australia to supply coal to developing nations.
The angry summer - Great Barrier Reef argument
Australia's Climate Council released its "Angry Summer" report
the other day, vividly pointing out that Australia is seeing climate change in action. Along with the over 200 records broken across the country this summer, the impact from climate change on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) was discussed.
The report describes the impacts on the ecosystem, including the Great Barrier Reef. From the increase in the number of bushfires that have burned thousands of hectares of land, to the increase in coral bleaching this summer, the list is long.
Australia's News Weekly
claims that blaming “anthropogenic climate change” for the bleaching of coral in the GBR is simplistic and opportunistic, but they are also claiming that anti-coal activist groups are using "intimidation" to get followers. The website is very pro-coal and believes the industry has helped enormously to bring Australia through the recent global financial crisis.
Digital Journal will be keeping an eye on the growing debate over the Adani Carmichael mine as the end of the year gets closer. There are also a few more legal challenges, including one from a local indigenous landowners' group.