Back in October, a former Indian environment minister sounded the alarm on Indian mining giant Adani’s poor track record:
India’s former environment minister Jairam Ramesh is “absolutely appalled” by the Australian Government’s approval of the Adani Group’s massive coal mine in North Queensland, which he says will threaten the survival of the Great Barrier Reef, “a common heritage of mankind”.
Mr Ramesh, an elder statesman of India’s opposition Congress Party, also said the Federal Government and Queensland Government have failed to do adequate due diligence on Adani Group’s environmental and financial conduct in India before granting environmental approvals and mining licenses.
“Adani Group’s track record on environmental management within the country [India] leaves a lot to be desired,” Mr Ramesh told Four Corners.
“And if it leaves a lot to be desired domestically, there’s no reason for me to believe that Adani would be a responsible environmental player globally”…
Mr Ramesh urged the Australian Government to do thorough financial due diligence on Adani Group, amid allegations in India of tax evasion and money laundering, as well as Adani Group’s extensive use of shell companies owned in tax havens.
Today, The ABC reports that an internal investigation by the Federal Environment Department has found Adani “may have been negligent” in failing to disclose its Australian CEO’s links to a company convicted of environmental offences in Africa:
Documents obtained under freedom of information laws reveal the department considered a criminal prosecution against Adani over the omission, but decided the prospect of a conviction was limited.
The ABC revealed in 2015 Adani’s Australian CEO, Jeyakumar Janakaraj, was the director of operations at a Zambian copper mine when it discharged toxic pollutants into a major river.
The mining company, KCM, later pleaded guilty to four charges, including polluting the environment and wilfully failing to report it.
Mr Janakaraj was not charged, but the 2009 annual report of KCM’s parent company said he was “responsible for overall operations of KCM”.
After the ABC’s 2015 report, the Environment Department launched an investigation, demanding to know why Adani had not revealed Mr Janakaraj’s history with KCM during the approval process for Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine in Queensland.
Under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act, the environmental history of corporate executive officers must be disclosed to the department.
Given its atrocious track record, one wonders why the Turnbull Government remains so committed to Adani’s Carmichael mega-coal project.