Time is running out to stop Adani’s Carmichael mine
Speaking at a public talk organised by the Stop Adani campaign at the University of Sydney’s Seymour Centre, Isaac Astill, divestment campaigner at anti-fossil fuel group 350.org Australia, noted that there could be as little as eight weeks before the Australian government and Adani’s board decide whether the mine goes ahead.
The company has said that its board will finalise an investment decision about the controversial project by June, and its chairman Gautam Adani has also recently told the Indian press that he expects final approvals from the Australian government in May or June.
Adani’s proposed project involves 16 open cut pits and three underground mines, and the company has approval to extract up to 60 million tonnes of coal per year for 30 years.
Adani also plans to build a railroad from the mine to the coast, as well as a new coal terminal from which ships will carry the coal to India.
In contrast to this, the Australian Conservation Foundation predicts that 2,700 direct jobs would be created in Queensland if the 10 new solar farm projects currently under consideration by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency go ahead.
At the same time, the coal mine and infrastructure’s potential impact on the Great Barrier Reef jeopardises almost 64,000 jobs that the site currently provides.
While the mine’s supporters claim that the coal is essential for meeting India’s energy needs and addressing energy poverty in the region, India may not actually need Australian coal in a few years, he said.
A weak economic case aside, the Adani project is also a threat to the customary lands and rights of indigenous people.
The Queensland government has already signed off on environmental approvals for the mine.
To pressure the bank into refusing to fund Adani, 350.org’s Astill urged members of the public to find and join a group of campaigners, who “adopt” a Westpac branch around the country, and talk to its staff and customers to educate them on why Westpac should not fund Adani.