Adani in court battle over $A16.5b 'risky, dangerous' Carmichael

QUEENSLAND environmental activists Coast and Country are to square up to Indian firm Adani in court over its intention to create Australia’s largest coal mine at Carmichael.
Adani in court battle over $A16.5b 'risky, dangerous' Carmichael Adani in court battle over $A16.5b 'risky, dangerous' Carmichael Adani in court battle over $A16.5b 'risky, dangerous' Carmichael Adani in court battle over $A16.5b 'risky, dangerous' Carmichael Adani in court battle over $A16.5b 'risky, dangerous' Carmichael

Map showing Adani's proposed Carmichael mine and rail project.

Staff Reporter

The five-week case, which began yesterday, is being heard at Queensland Land Court.

Coast and Country Qld contends that the 280 square kilometre mine will be catastrophic to Queensland, affecting ground and surface water, the world’s climate and the Great Barrier Reef.

Coast and Country will adduce testimony from environmental, indigenous, finance and economic experts in order to stop the government granting Adani a mining lease.

Among those called upon will be Potsdam Institute senior researcher Professor Malte Meinshausen and Great Barrier Reef tour operator Tony Fontes.

“It [the mine] will emit more carbon pollution and will warm the world more than any other proposed development,” said Coast and Country Qld spokesman Derec Davies.

“This mine will have severe impacts on the Great Barrier Reef, will threaten the tourism industry in Queensland and will negatively impact the economy. The mine also threatens precious water resources and rare biodiversity.

“And they [the government] took at face value the misleading claims about the extent to which Queensland will benefit. Part of our case is that Queensland will not benefit from this mine.

“Our case will demonstrate that this mine poses an unacceptable risk to the groundwater resources, including the oasis at Doongmabulla Springs which is likely to be one million years old.

“Finally, we will argue that Adani lack the necessary financial viability. We will demonstrate that this dangerous and risky mine should not be approved.”

In closed proceedings, Adani’s group financial controller Rajesh Gupta will be subject to questioning regarding the financial basis of the mine.

It is not the only legal challenge Adani faces over Carmichael, either, with the Mackay Conservation Group taking aim at federal Environmental Minister Greg Hunt’s approval of the mine.

Hunt green-lighted the project subject to 36 environmental conditions, many of which pertained to conserving groundwater. In reply to this, Greenpeace said that the minister had “laid out the red carpet for a coal company with a shocking track record to dig up the outback, dump on the Great Barrier Reef and fuel climate change”.

Furthermore, traditional owners the Wangan and Jagalingou (WJ) people stated last week that they had rejected an indigenous land use agreement regarding the mine.

Adani dismissed this due to the company feeling the spokesman – Adrian Burragubba – was not authorised to speak for the WJ people.

The Indian company won an early victory last year when it gained approval from the Queensland government to build a 300km rail track to link up the Carmichael site with the Abbot Point coal terminal. The coal from there would be shipped internationally, with a large proportion going to India.

However, a number of large global banks, including HSBC, Citi, RBS and Barclays, balked at providing funding for the Abbot Point port expansion, though Adani signed an MOU with Bank of India for a $US1 billion credit facility to develop the mine.

With an expected yield of up to 100 million tonnes per year, the mine would be the third largest in the world. An Adani study showed they expected the mine to release three billion tons of greenhouse gases during its six decades of operation, predominantly due to “fugitive” discharges from certain mining methods.

The Queensland government forecast that the Galilee Basin site would add almost $3 billion to the state’s economy annually for a span of 60 years, in the process creating almost 4000 jobs.

Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) lawyers Sean Ryan, Michael Berkman and Juanita Williams will represent Coast and Country.

EDO Qld is an independent, not-for-profit community legal centre that takes on public interest environmental cases.

While approached, Adani refused to comment while the hearing is going on.

The case continues.

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