On the left: Abbot Point port where tonnes of coal will be shipped from the Carmichael mega mine. On the Right: A Clown fish in the Great Barrier Reef
On the left: Abbot Point port where tonnes of coal will be shipped from the Carmichael mega mine. On the Right: A Clown fish in the Great Barrier Reef

Sorting out Fact from Fiction: Is the Carmichael Mine back on track?

Yesterday, amid much fanfare, it was announced that Adani Group had given the Carmichael coal mine “the go-ahead.” Who gave the “green light” for the project you ask? The board of the company that has been trying to build the mine for the past seven years!

To help you cut through the spin, we have dissected the company’s press release and added a healthy dose of reality:

 

Claim: Adani Group has made a ‘Final Investment Decision’

Reality: The Adani mine is months away from any real decision-making.

When companies announce they have made Final Investment Decision to proceed with a project, they have usually locked in their finance.[2] The Carmichael project has a $3.3 billion funding shortfall [3] and many private banks have ruled out involvement with the project.[4]

Claim: The project has a “green light”

Reality: The project is facing a series of stop lights.

The project still faces a number of hurdles, including a legal challenge from the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) traditional owners of the land.[5]

Claim: “Adani today signed contracts for design, construction, operations, supply of materials and professional services”

Reality: Contracts have effectively stalled.

“Letters of award” have been given to Downer and AECOM, which essentially promise to negotiate contracts in the future (this is no change from the status quo – Downer received similar letters in 2014).[6]

Claim: Adani has announced contracts for the “planned 388-kms standard gauge rail link between the mine and Abbot Point”

Reality: Adani Group does not have the money it says it needs.

One of the companies that has supposedly received a contract – Arrium Steel – is currently in administration and can’t legally sign contracts. In any case, a spokesperson for Adani admitted that the $1 billion in public money that they have asked the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) for is “critical” for the rail project.[7] A decision from the NAIF Board is not expected for several months.

Claim: The project will generate “many thousands of direct and indirect jobs in regional Queensland.”

Reality: The Adani Mine is a jobs killer [10]

The project puts at risk the 70,000 jobs in Queensland’s tourism industry that rely on a healthy Great Barrier Reef. The company’s job estimates are false. In court, the company’s own expert admitted that the project would only create 1464 jobs, and that is IF the mine reaches full capacity.[8] The mining industry is heavily automated and even trucks servicing the Carmichael mine are likely to be driverless.[9]

Claim: The project is about “addressing energy poverty in India”

Reality: More coal equals more poverty [10]

Don’t believe the rhetoric – back in India, the company has been trying its utmost to raise the price it can charge consumers from its power plants.[11] And there is also the huge cost to public health that comes with coal: Greenpeace India estimates that coal-fired power plants contributed to the deaths of between 85,000 to 115,000 people in India in 2011-12.[12]

The real solution to energy poverty is renewable energy. India is rapidly transitioning to solar and wind power and the government has vowed to phase out all coal imports.[13]

 

The bottom line: thehighly controversial Carmichael coal mine is no closer to lift-off than it was last month or last year, and, it can be argued, it has not progressed that far beyond where it was even five years ago.”

The campaign to stop the coal rush in the Galilee Basin has come so far because of a powerful movement that has transformed the politics, stopped major banks from approving the project and stood up in the courts and the streets.

Together we can stop this toxic mega-mine from going ahead, and there is still a lot you can do! Call on Malcolm Turnbull to not give public money for more coal. Call on the Commonwealth Bank to rule out lending their customers’ money to more coal. Or write letters to the paper, join a group of like-minded people or organise a meeting with your MP.

 

 

[1] http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/mining/adanis-queensland-megamine-given-the-goahead/news-story/1b9f9354fc43b3dd8e249ee8350f045e

[2] http://www.afr.com/news/politics/time-for-adani-to-put-its-money-where-its-mouth-is-20170606-gwlpf1#ixzz4jH0tKt1U

[3] http://www.afr.com/news/politics/adani-approves-165b-carmichael-mine-20170606-gwl9h7

[4] https://theconversation.com/adani-gives-itself-the-green-light-but-that-doesnt-change-the-economics-of-coal-78912

[5] http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/adani-investment-decision-meaningless-without-indigenous-consent/

[6] http://www.afr.com/business/mining/adanis-trick-of-the-green-light-20170606-gwlmm3#ixzz4jGEBJNLI

[7] http://www.afr.com/news/politics/adani-approves-165b-carmichael-mine-20170606-gwl9h7

[8] http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/adani-mine-a-20b-project-creating-10000-jobs-the-abbott-governments-myths-busted-20150819-gj2u2o.html

[9] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-06/adani-automation-will-take-jobs-off-coal-face-and-into-the-city/8094486

[10] https://www.oxfam.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/More-Coal-Equals-More-Poverty.pdf

[11] http://in.reuters.com/article/tata-power-adani-power-court-idINKBN17D0MF

[12] http://www.greenpeace.org/india/en/publications/Coal-Kills/

[13] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/apr/11/malcolm-turnbull-talks-up-coal-delhi-india-stop-imports

[14] http://www.smh.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/adani-project-no-closer-to-liftoff-despite-fanfare-20170606-gwlkf9.html