Indian mining giant Adani has announced that it is ready to self-fund a scaled-down coalmine and rail project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. The company said that construction on the mine would begin next year.
The November 29 announcement came in the midst of a “fortnight of heat” over November 19-December 1, in which Stop Adani activists hope to turn up the heat on local MPs before they returned to Canberra for the final sitting days of parliament.
Particular emphasis was placed on targeting Labor MPs in the lead up to the party’s national conference in Adelaide in December, with activists protesting on November 22 outside the launch of Labor’s new energy policy, which will be voted on at the conference.
While many welcomed the policy’s emphasis on renewables, the lack of any concrete action to reduce burning fossil fuels was seen as a major flaw.
Challenged over the party’s position on Adani’s coalmine and its potential impacts on climate change, party leader Bill Shorten said: “The actual decision about Adani is not going to affect Australian emissions."
Shorten’s statement echoes Adani’s claim that coal exports make no contribution to Australia’s carbon emissions.
Meanwhile, Queensland’s coordinator-general approved MacMines AustAsia’s proposed $6.7 billion China Stone coalmine in the Galilee Basin on November 23.
The planned mine will be 300 kilometres west of Mackay, just to the north of Adani’s Carmichael mine site, and is set to produce up to 38 million tonnes of coal a year.
According to its environmental impact statement, the mine will provide 3400 ongoing jobs and $188 million a year in royalties for Queensland in its first 25 years of operation.
The China Stone proposal also includes the construction of a new coal-fired power station.
Federal environment minister Melissa Price now has six weeks to make a decision on the mine under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
The China Stone Coal project is the sixth Galilee Basin coal project assessed by the coordinator-general office. To date it has approved five coalmines and three rail projects.
However, the strength of the climate change movement has prevented these projects going ahead.
Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive officer Kelly O’Shanassy said the approval of the China Stone project was “reckless”.
“The environment groups will not sit by and allow governments and corporations to build these coal mines which will threaten life on Earth because they fuel global warming,” she said.
O’Shanassy said the campaign in the Galilee Basin is continuing to focus on Adani’s project because it is the only one of the six mine proposals likely to get off the ground.
“As far as we understand, the China Stone mine does not have financial backing and certainly has many approval[s] to get so it will not be built tomorrow,” she said.