Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Adanis' ambitious coal-mining project in Australia again under cloud, with "predictions" of Labor victory

By Our Representative
If early predictions of an Australian Labor Party (ALP) possible win in the elections in the province of Queensland come true, the Adani Group's ambitious Carmichael Coal project in the Galilee Basin – one of the largest coal mine projects in tin the world – may be a big loser. The Australian news portal South Asia Times (SAT), quoting ALP leaders, said, the ALP has announced it will “halt the unprecedented financial support for the project pledged by Queensland's conservative Liberal-National Campwell government.”
SAT reports, quoting local media sources, that the Campwell government has offered to invest $450 million in the project, which would be over and above the State Bank of India announcement in November last year agreeing to provide for a credit facility of up to $1 billion USD for the Charmichaal project. The portal quotes the ALP's environment spokeswoman Jackie Trad as saying the party will “scrap hundreds of millions of dollars worth taxpayers funding for the project.”
SAT further quotes Trad as saying that the Queensland government was “arrogant and out of control” and had refused to listen to the rural households about mining about the need to safeguard the environment in region. It recalls, “Adani is considered close of India’s new right wing government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and last year accompanied him to the G-20 summit in Brisbane. In case of state coal-mining in project the coming state elections in Queensland, one big looser will be the Adani.”
SAT says, “The project is already under cloud from environmentalists, particularly Greenpeace Australia, and is facing a court challenge.” At the same time, it quotes Adani Australia website to claim that the coal-mining project will “create 10,000 local jobs and contribute to $22 billion in taxes and royalties for investment into services.” The news of possible challenge to the Adani Group's biggest international venture comes amid predictions that the ALP and the conservative party are in a “neck-and-neck” contest in the poll, announced three months ahead of schedule.
Australian media reports say, the Queensland Premier, who led the Liberal National Party to a record electoral victory in March 2012 — winning 78 of the 89 seats in the unicameral parliament — will face major reverses, with opinion polls predicting a possible ALP-led coalition. He was quoted as admitting that the ALP could “take power with the support of minor parties”, which is “a very real possibility because this is going to be a tight election.’’
Meanwhile, environmental groups continue their campaign against the Adani Group, with Get Up! Action for Australia declaring, “Don't trust this company with our Great Barrier Reef.” It said, “Reports of bribery, illegal construction, destroying protected environments and corruption. This is the company who wants to be trusted with the world's biggest coal port on our Great Barrier Reef coastline.”
Asking viewers to watch the video it has released in support of its claim, the group said, “Adani still needs to borrow billions of dollars to make this project happen, and we need investors to know exactly who they'd be dealing with.” It gave following instances to prove its point:
* An investigation by the Karnataka anti-corruption ombudsman discovered Adani was involved in large scale illegal exports of iron ore. The report was set up to investigate "large scale corruption and complaints of profiteering through illegal mining with the complicity of the authorities in all levels of Government."
*Adani's approval for its Mundra port states "no existing mangroves shall be destroyed during the construction/operation of the port," and explicitly stated reclamation of creeks was prohibited. Yet, the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests here found large areas of mangrove were filled with dredge spoil (or, 'reclamated'); 5 ha of mangroves were destroyed in a conservation area; and dredging infrastructure blocked water supply to large areas of mangroves, drying them up and killing them.

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