Adani’s coal mine in Australia in trouble

By Sarkaritel January 16, 2015 13:09

Adani’s coal mine in Australia in trouble

Brisbane, Jan 16 The Australian federal court has been asked to overturn the approval given to Indian conglomerate Adani’s $16.5 billion Queensland coal mine on account of harmful environmental impact.

Opposition to Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s approval to the mine stems from the fact that he did not take into account the impact on the Great Barrier Reef of the greenhouse gases emitted when the coal is burned, The Guardian reported Wednesday.

Environment ministers usually consider only the emission of greenhouse gases produced during mining processes, not the emissions produced when coal is burned, and Adani was not required to consider emissions from the burning of the mined coal in the environmental impact statement.

However, a case lodged by the New South Wales Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) on behalf of the Mackay Conservation Group argued that the emissions from burning the estimated 60 million tonnes of coal a year to be exported from Adani’s Carmichael mine in Queensland were big enough to have an impact on global warming and therefore on the Great Barrier Reef also.

“We will argue that the minister failed to consider the greenhouse gas emissions arising from the burning of coal mined from the project and the impact of those emissions on nationally protected matters such as the Great Barrier Reef,” EDO NSW said.

Hunt was specifically required to take into account the impact of the Carmichael mine on the reef when making his decision in July 2014.

The case is the third lodged by environmental and community groups against the Carmichael mine as they ramp up a campaign to try to stop the development of the giant Galilee basin’s coal reserves.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has made the development of the Galilee basin a key election issue, promising an unspecified sum to take a minority stake in the rail line necessary to bring Adani’s coal to port and to develop an onshore disposal site for dredge spoil from Adani’s coal port.

Newman and Adani have said the mine will create 10,000 jobs and pour $22 billion in royalties into the state’s coffers.

An Adani spokesman said these figures came from a recent study from “a top-tier international accounting and advisory firm” which was not publicly available. He said they were conservative estimates.

Australia’s opposition Labour Party supports coal mining but not the taxpayer subsidies being offered by the coalition government.

The Carmichael mine’s environmental impact statement says it will produce over 200 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide (CO2) over the 60-year life of the mine from gases that escape during the mining process and from emissions created from mining and transporting the coal.

But burning the 60 million tonnes of coal exported from the mine each year would create 130 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year, equivalent to about one quarter of Australia’s total emissions.

It could be several months before there is a decision in the case. If the court ruled in favour of the Mackay Conservation Group, the minister would be required to reconsider his approval to the project.

Hunt has yet to make a decision about the new plan to dispose off the sediment produced from the dredging for the new coal ports.

By Sarkaritel January 16, 2015 13:09