The Adani board has given the nod to the $16.5 billion Carmichael projects which would generate 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, with pre-construction works starting in the September quarter of 2017.
Yet there are some cautionary voices:
- The AFR has an article pointing out that they still have to find $3 billion for the $6.7 billion first stage of the mine, the rail and port project.
- Peter Hannan in the SMH says Adani’s ‘green light’ on Carmichael coal mine more mirage than reality.
- John Quiggin has a new post What is Adani thinking?
The approval is conditional on Adani getting a $1 billion loan for the rail link to the Galilee basin from the
Canavan/National Party slush fund Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF). A decision is to be made in next few days. Giles Parkinson thinks that the “Reputation” clause may scupper government loan deal for Adani.
Maybe not, I’m sure a co-operative board has been installed.
Quiggin says the Adani board made much more consequential decision than the project approval:
- They are spinning off the 4GW Ultra Mega Power Plant* at Mundra, along with a huge load of debt, into a subsidiary, provisionally called Adani Power (Mundra). The plan it seems is to sell majority ownership, hopefully to the government of Gujarat, and thereby leave the slimmed down Adani Power with a manageable debt load, while it shifts further away from coal and into renewables.
But without Mundra, Adani Power won’t have nearly enough coal-fired plant to take up the output of even the first stage of Carmichael.
Building the rail line will give them a couple of years grace before spending their own money, because the rail line will be owned, would you believe, by a separate Adani company in the Cayman Islands. That, thinks Quiggin, will give Adani time during which something might turn up.
- And, if nothing did turn up, Adani would have bought a couple of years breathing space before writing off the losses that have already been incurred, without spending a significant amount of its own money. Adani (Caymans) would slide gracefully into bankruptcy and the Australian public would be left with a half-built rail line to nowhere and a billion dollar hole in our collective pockets.
Meanwhile Giles Parkinson points out that the IEA climate scenarios make mockery of Australia’s defence of Adani coal. I know the court decided that the Indians, not us, would be responsible for the emissions, but the IEA, a conservative OECD institution, has told us that burning coal has to stop well within the life of the mine. If we lend good money for the rail line we are more than complicit.
Elsewhere, Marcia Langton has delivered a blast to the green environmental activists, who she says have ‘hijacked’ indigenous issues. They are using money from wealthy overseas donors to disrupt agreements between Aboriginal groups and mining companies, which would benefit Aborigines and give them jobs.
There’s more at The Guardian:
- Prominent Indigenous academic Marcia Langton has blasted the campaign against the controversial Adani coalmine, saying the Greens and the “environmental industry” are treating Indigenous people as “collateral damage”.
- She [Langton] bemoaned too that “hard-won Indigenous economic standing” risked being sacrificed in the name of the Green movement’s blanket opposition to mining.
“Let me be clear for those who are not aware of the problems we face: cashed-up green groups, some funded by wealthy overseas interests, oppose mining projects with often-flimsy evidence and misrepresent the evidence to the public.
“They deliberately thwart the aspirations and native title achievements of the majority of Indigenous people by deception, by persuading the media and the public that a small handful of Indigenous campaigners who oppose the legitimate interests of the majority of their own people are the truth-tellers and heroes.
“In a series of very sophisticated and well-funded manoeuvres, they disguise their campaign strategies to end mining as pro-Indigenous campaigns.
“In fact, they are undermining the majority Indigenous people who have worked hard with the flawed Native Title Act to achieve Aboriginal governance of very difficult problems in the region of the proposed Carmichael mine.
“There are legitimate ways to express opposition to mining and other projects, but sacrificing Indigenous achievements by using Aboriginal people in campaigns based on deception about the majority Aboriginal view in the region of the Carmichael mine is not one of them.”
Marcia Langton is a well-respected straight shooter. She also spent a major part of the address talking about the move to automating mining and other jobs, and how our governments are leaving us ill-prepared for the ‘fourth industrial revolution’.