Indian multinational conglomerate, Adani Group faces setbacks in Australia as environmental concerns mar its large scale coal project.
Appealing for finances from Northern Australian Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), Adani Group has reportedly been hoping to proceed with the highly opposed coal project it has undertaken in Australia. The Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail project is envisioned as Australia’s largest coal mine if it goes through. Major banks have declared their intent to not to participate in this project through loan grants as it has widely been met with protests and oppositions from environmental activists, who have expressed concerns over the projected damages that would result from the project.
An area that is increasingly turning fragile, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, is said to be the site for transportation for the coal and expansion of port facilities is also reportedly a source of worry for opposition. Met with legal challenges, also from indigenous groups such as the Wangan and Jagalingou people, the project hopes for a much needed boost from NAIF, an Australian government founded body, where Adani Enterprises has applied for its rail project. The Carmichael project has found the approval and appreciation from the federal and Queensland governments for its stated boost to jobs and the economy. Estimated at EUR 19 billion, the project has been proposed by the Indian company, whose base is in Ahmedabad, the former capital of the state of Gujarat in western India. Most of the coal to be exported from the mining projected will be directed towards India.
— Neil Naessens (@medjak40) February 28, 2017
GetUp, an Australian not-for-profit organisation, is among many who are raising campaigns such as #StopAdani for the damage the massive coal project is believed to cause. In a post Paris-climate agreement scenario, where a shift to renewable energy should be the priority, a coal mine that is set to irreversibly damage the ecology of the Great Barrier Reef has been met with vehement opposition. Banks such as Germany’s Deutsche Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia have publicly stated their refusal to provide loans to the India-based multinational company, whose subsidiaries has been alleged of fraud and corruption, environmental destruction and labour exploitation, according to several tribunals and reports by groups such as Greenpeace.
Disregard for environment in home territory
The Adani Group has a strong presence in India and the group’s chairman and founder, Gautam Adani has been noted widely for his close relations with Indian leaders such as the current Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi. However, green bodies and activists have maintained their opposition to the group. A Greenpeace report from 2014 has stated, “Adani has a long history of environmental destruction, regulatory non-compliance and other illegal activities, including bribery of government officials, unauthorised construction and tax evasion. The company’s unscrupulous activities have come to light via a number of government investigations and court hearings, including a multi-disciplinary committee formed in September 2012 by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to investigate the raft of allegations made against Adani and its conduct at the Mundra SEZ.”
Earlier this year, National Green Tribunal (NGT) in India slapped a hefty fine on a subsidiary of the Adani group, Adani Hazira Port Pvt Ltd, for reported environmental damage in the port of Surat, Gujarat and set aside environmental clearance for them after a challenge from the Hazira Machchimaar Samiti, a group of fishermen. Even as India ratified the Paris agreement in October 2016, there have been instances of large scale violation of environmental damage that the NGT has taken up, but with weak implementation and regulations, the reported violations continue.