Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Adanis "win" coalmine environmental authority for $16 billion Australian project: It's complete sellout, say greens

A Greenpeace campaign poster
By Our Representative
There are fresh indications that the Australian greens may now be fighting a losing battle against India's powerful Adani Group’s $16.5 billion coal-mining project in Carmichael, next to the delicate marine ecosystem, Great Barrier Reef, in the Queensland province of Australia. They are accusing authorities of complete sellout on environmental front.
One of the world’s most influential environmental NGOs, Greenpeace, in a media statement, said that the authorities have “sold out” the Great Barrier Reef, next to the project site to the Adanis, even as “undermining” the aspirations of the Australian public. It is not known what the NGO proposes to do now to reverse the alleged sell out. 
“If it ever got to full production, the 28,000 hectares Carmichael coal mine would put 121 million tonnes of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere each year and ship 60 million tonnes of coal directly through the heart of the Reef”, a Greenpeace campaigner said, adding, “The mine could also wipe out a globally significant population of the endangered black-throated finch.”
The statement comes just a day after the natives of Queensland province knocked at the Federal Court doors that the mining project would mean their traditional rights over the land would be infringed (read HERE).
Shani Tager, Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s Reef campaigner, said in a statement, Queensland environment minister Steven Miles “was elected on the promise of protecting the Reef, but just one year later, he’s picked coal over coral. It’s a short-sighted and, frankly, absurd decision.”
Sharply criticizing the Queensland government’s decision to grant an environmental authority for the Carmichael mega coal mine, Tager said, “This environmental authority waves through a project that threatens the health of the Great Barrier Reef, which is already suffering from climate change and pollution.”
“As Australia’s largest coal mine, Carmichael will add to the global warming that is threatening the Reef. It will mean expanding Abbot Point port, dredging in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and sending more ships through this delicate ecosystem,” the environmental NGO campaigner said.
“Despite state and federal government support for the mine, the $16 billion Carmichael project has attracted no financial backers in the last six years as investors look elsewhere for returns”, the campaigner recalled.
The new authority for the project, which in effect means that the coal mining project would go ahead, is being allowed despite the fact that “the proponent, Adanis, do not have the money and 14 international banks have stated they will not fund it”, she said.
“With the global coal market plummeting and countries like China, the US and even Vietnam phasing out new coal mines, the Queensland government should be creating a transition plan for coal workers, not backing a dead-end project like Carmichael”, the campaigner said.
The decision to set up the environment has been taken despite the fact that, said the campaigner, the Australian department of environment acknowledges that “the Reef provides employment for more than 69,000 people”, and their livelihood would be affected.
“On the other hand”, she said, the “Adanis have been caught overstating the job numbers, royalties and tax from the project in the Land Court of Queensland.”
Tager says, the mining industry even otherwise does not have much future. “The mining industry has lost 40,000 jobs since 2012-13, according to BIS Shrapnel’s Mining in Australia 2015-2030 report. It also predicts a further 20,000 jobs to go in the next three years. It’s not a growth industry for employment.”

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