Ever since the 21.7 billion dollar Carmichael coal mine project in Australia was launched six years ago, Gautam Adani has consistently faced roadblocks.
Most recently, a federal court in August, 2015, had cancelled the original sanction due to ecological concerns. However, a couple of months later, in October, the project was given fresh approval by the Australian government. This see-saw behavior by the Aussie Government has so far prevented the venture from finally taking off, adding to the rising cost and wasted time. And apparently, this destructive trend continues.
In a fresh jolt, a local court has initiated a judicial review of the Queensland Government’s approval to one of the world’s largest coal mines projects. Adani Mining Pty Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of India’s Adani Group, with an investment of around $17 billion, is obviously frustrated at this “delaying tactics”.
Conservation group, Coast and Country (C&C), which had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court for a judicial review, maintained that the state government’s consent to the Indian mining giant was given unlawfully and the permission should be revoked. Their claim of non-compliance on the part of the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection related to environmental obligation is a very typical stand. It gives the impression that the project is facing racial discrimination. Where was C&C hiding before?
The Adani Group, on its part, is confident of prevailing, but is clearly not enjoying these periodic fluctuations. They find the argument with no legal basis and common sense, contesting the charge that the five-year approvals process was rushed. They have also denied the claims that the process of seeking approvals was anti-democratic.
In any case, stringent conditions and measures are in place to save from harm the environment, landholders’ and traditional owners’ interests, and the iconic Great Barrier Reef. Extensive government and community scrutiny have taken place on multiple occasions, and every time the project has proven to be non-damaging to the environment. Also, by interrupting and holding up the project, thousands of jobs are being denied to the locals in Queensland. It will also deprive the Galilee Basin of sustainable development for the employment and economic development it will create.
It is estimated that the mine, rail and port project will generate more than 5000 jobs at the peak of construction and more than 4500 jobs at the peak of operations.
The world over, the role of the self-proclaimed guardians of the environment is becoming murkier. It is generally believed that their contribution is more obstructionist in nature, questioning any and every developmental plans. Clearly, this seemingly politically-motivated, activist-led confrontation is intended to further damage the reputation of the Indian company, which has pledged to battle any force that wants to derail this global project.