Last hope to derail Adani
Activists fight on as Indian coal giant commits
ACTIVISTS will ramp up the anti-Adani campaign against a possible federal government loan of up to $1 billion to the Indian conglomerate, after the company gave the green light to its $16.5bn Galilee Basin coalmine.
Activists will bombard federal MPs with phone calls, international banks will be pressured to pre-emptively rule out funding Adani, and a constitutional legal challenge is being considered should the government sign off on the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility concessional loan.
After seven years of state and federal assessments and legal challenges by conservation groups, Adani, on Tuesday, announced its board had made a final investment decision on its controversial Carmichael coalmine project, allowing $70 million in preconstruction work, such as landclearing and road-building, to begin in September.
But the company still needs to secure finance from banks for the project before it can reach the all-important “financial close” for the central Queensland project.
Adani’s decision comes as the federal government’s hand-picked NAIF board considers the potential loan to help fund a rail link between the proposed megamine and the Adani-owned Abbot Point port.
The Carmichael mine is the biggest proposed coalmine in Australia and, at its peak, is forecast to produce 60 million tonnes a year to fuel Adani’s coal-fired power stations in India.
Billionaire Adani chairman Gautam Adani said he would stare down activist opposition to the “largest single investment by an Indian corporation in Australia”.
“We have been challenged by activists in the courts, in inner-city streets, and even outside banks that have not even been approached to finance the project,” Mr Adani said. “We are still facing activists. But we are committed to this project.”
Kelly O’Shanassy, chief executive of the Australian Conservation Foundation — one of 20 green groups in the Stop Adani Alliance — said the ACF was planning to ramp up the campaign to discourage the NAIF loan.
“We are going to ramp this up and get more MPs speaking up about what their constituents want and look at the legal options available to us,” Ms O’Shanassy said. “The Prime Minister needs to understand that this is happening under his leadership. There’s a lot of focus on Donald Trump pulling out of Paris but if the Turnbull government approves (the NAIF) loan, it’s a greater act of climate recklessness”. The ACF is investigating a possible constitutional challenge.