October 9, 2017 - Indian mining giant Adani has suffered huge setbacks in the form of country-wide protests in Australia against its massive coal mine and railway project in Queensland. The $16.5 billion project had hit roadblocks due to difficulties in securing green clearances and a nearly billion dollar loan to kickstart the project. Here is all you need to know about the project and the controversy surrounding it.
Thousands of people in Australia including environmentalists have started an “Adani go back” campaign to deter Adani from moving ahead with the Carmichael Coal Mine and Carmichael Railroad project that will form the largest coal mining project in Australia and one of the largest in the world. Protesters have raised concerns that the project can possibly increase global warming and also threaten the Great Barrier Reef.
The Great Barrier Reef, located off Queensland’s coast in northeastern Australia, consists thousands of small reefs stretching nearly 2,300 km. The marine ecosystem boasts at least 600 varieties of coral and is considered a paradise for marine species. It is considered one of the most valuable environmental entities on the planet.
The coal project is located in Australia’s Galilee Basin. It includes Australia’s largest thermal coal mine located north in the Galilee Basin. This is 160 km northwest of Clermont in Central Queensland. This mine will be connected to the Adani Abbot Point Port near Bowen that Adani has been operating for three decades now. According to Adani, the mine project is planned on the largest single coal tenement.
The mine project will be connected with the Carmichael Rail Project which will have an operational capacity of 100 million tonnes per annum, as per information available on Adani group’s website. The group claims it has already received approvals for the the rail line and the coal trains that will ferry the coal will be 3.97 km in length with 31,964 tonne gross weight. The three-diesel locomotive train will have 220 wagons and will carry 23,760 tonnes of coal and will complete a round trip in under a day’s time.
Adani got the nod from the Australian federal government and the Queensland government earlier this year and was supposed to start construction this September. The entire project requires dredging of 1.1 million cubic metres of spoil near the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Adani has set a 60-year life for the project and aims to support its operations in the country and potentially help developing Adani’s other mines proposed in the Galilee Basin. The Galilee Basin is spread across 247,000 sq km and is a thermal coal basin. The basin is located in the Central Australian state of Queensland. Galilee Basin is one of the largest untapped reserves of coal in the world. Behind Western China, the Galilee Basin forms the second biggest fossil fuel expansion on the planet, helped with several proposed ‘mega mines’.
In May 2017, Wangan and Jagalingou group staked a native claim on the proposed site of the mine and contended in the court that the leases which were awarded to Adani group was unlawful. The group argued that it was not awarded sufficient time to address the state government on the concerned native title issues. However, the government of Queensland quashed the protest saying the ‘traditional owners’ did not make a proper objection as required under the provisions of the Mineral Resources Act, 1989.
Adani has promises creating thousands of jobs for people residing in the state and also of pumping massive investment back into the economy in the form of royalties and mining taxes.