#StopAdani protests surge in Australia

In just a few months, India’s Adani Group is set to start working on its $16bn Carmichael coal mine and rail project in Australia’s Galilee Basin, located in central Queensland.

But before construction begins, activist groups are making sure to continue to speak up against the plan which, they say, could potentially harm the Great Barrier Reef and vulnerable species including a lizard known as the yakka skink.

On June 14, members of Toowoomba StopAdani, backed by Ken Gover from the Queensland Greens, gathered outside the Clifford Gardens Shopping Centre demanding the Commonwealth Bank to stop funding the mine and to divest from fossil fuels.

The action comes following a News Corp story that revealed that a Commonwealth Bank account was used by Adani to pay a $1.6 million deposit to the Department of Natural Resources and Mines. The financial institution, however, had previously released a statement saying that in terms of the proposed Galilee Basin, their executives “have not been approached to provide finance for any project."

The protesters, who were also reacting to declarations by India’s Energy Minister who stated earlier this week that the country has “sufficient coal capacity” to power itself without the Carmichael mine, were asked to stop rallying in the area.

 

Beset by legal woes, Adani faced a new step-back in March when Australia’s four biggest banks ruled out or withdrew funding from Carmichael, following a decision by Westpac to only fund new projects in existing, rather than new, coal basins.

Carmichael is one of the world’s largest thermal coal mines approved in recent years. In order to move forward with the project, Adani Group (NSE: ADANIENT) agreed to pay the state hefty royalties on the coal produced there. The company has also spent more than $120 million in legal fees to cut its way through the environmental snags that delayed the first phase of the mine.

Official figures estimate that the Carmichael mine will contribute $2.97bn each year to Queensland’s economy and has the potential to create 6,400 new jobs. The mine is expected to produce 60 million tonnes of thermal coal a year for export, which would fuel power generation for 100 million Indians.