Is this the final nail in Adani’s coffin?

By Leith van Onselen

The likelihood of Adani’s Carmichael mega coal mine project going ahead continues to shrink.

Before its re-election last year, Queensland’s Palaszczuk Labor Government promised to veto Adani’s application for a loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) for a vital rail line.

Last week, federal Labor Leader, Bill Shorten, stepped-up his attack on the Adani project, threatening the mine’s licence. This followed a new ReachTEL poll of 3,312, which showed that 65.1% of Australians opposed or strongly opposed the coal mine – a 13.2% rise from March last year (51.9%).

The ReachTEL poll also showed that 73.5% of Australians support stopping the expansion of all coal mining, with respondents instead wanting more solar power and battery storage to reduce the threat of climate change.

Finally, over the weekend, Liberal minister Karen Andrews confirmed that the Adani Carmichael mine will not receive NAIF funding for the rail line. From The Guardian:

The announcement by Karen Andrews on Sunday is a major blow to Adani, which has sought a $900m concessional loan for rail to link the Carmichael mine to port – and could spell the end of the project entirely if it can’t secure private finance…

Andrews, the assistant minister for vocational education and skills, said that since “all the approvals are already in place for the Adani mine” it was now “just a financing issue for Adani” whether the mine goes ahead.

“Let’s be clear, though, given the position that the Labor state government took to the last election and their election, there won’t be financing from the federal government,” Andrews told Sky News.

Asked to confirm there would not be federal financing, she said: “No – it won’t be proceeding. For there to be money available from the Naif, that would require the support from the Queensland Labor government”.

“So the advice I’ve been given from the resources minister is the financing won’t proceed.”

MB has strongly opposed the Adani project from the get-go.

India’s Minister for State Power has already acknowledged that the cost of solar power is now cheaper than coal:

Therefore, the Adani Carmichael Project risks becoming an unviable stranded asset, and Australian taxpayers would have risked losing their money had the Government lent $900 million for the project.

Moreover, the Carmichael project would flood the world with more cheap coal, thus depressing its price and putting non-subsidised mines in NSW and QLD out of business, resulting in job losses. It also jeopardises the environment – both globally via exacerbating climate change and locally through threatening the Great Barrier Reef.

The employment payoffs from the Carmichael project are also likely to be immaterial or maybe even negative. Adani’s CEO has continuously boasted that the Carmichael Project will be the most autonomous in the world:

Whereas Adani’s own hand-picked economic expert, Jerome Fahrer from ACIL Allen consulting, told the Queensland Land Court that only 1,464 full-time equivalent jobs would be created by the project. These immaterial job gains must be offset by the job losses that would occur among other Queensland and New South Wales (non-subsidised) coal mines.

Late last year, The Conversation created the below infographic explaining the key impacts expected from Adani’s Carmichael mega coal mine, which is well worth a look:

For mine, the most damning information contained in this infographic is that:

  1. Adani would be allowed to extract unlimited volumes of water from the Great Artesian Basin for 60-years (a projected 12 billion litres a year); and
  2. It would burn 4.49 billion tonnes of carbon dioxite equivalent if/when the mine hits peak production (out of total global fossil fuel emissions of 37 billion in 2017).

In short, the project is economic and environmental vandalism writ large. Thankfully, it’s chances of proceeding are shrinking fast.

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  1. The poll results are interesting. Why did the electorate grow brain cells between March 2017 and Feb 2018?

    Another example of the electorate growing brain cells within 12 months:

    A poll saying most voters want corporate tax cuts:

    But another poll a few months later says no:

  2. Aside from whether or not the mine should go ahead, why would you even consider giving it to someone with a bad track record?

  3. It’s a national shame and disgrace that Australia is even considering this mine. It beggars belief that rational, thinking beings would enable the mining of a vast new CO2 source when the climate is changing before our eyes, the reef dying, cities all over the world in drought (California, western US, Chile, South Africa (Cape Town), Perth etc etc), wildfires happening at rates unseen before, and scientists jumping up and down with their hair on fire over GHG emissions!

    Beam me up Scotty, there’s no intelligent life down here.

  4. “Adani would be allowed to extract unlimited volumes of water from the Great Artesian Basin for 60-years (a projected 12 billion litres a year)”

    WTF? Perhaps Australians should start paying full economic costs for water. As a resource, it commands price.

    • Bob Katter has a plan to divert a gulf river south, to provide water for the mine, and set up a series of prawn farms along its lenght. It could be easily accomplished.
      If that would occur I would support the mine, the rail line is not an issue at all, easy fixed, but mucking with the great artesian basin is an all out NO NO

    • dumpling, I thought tap water is not subsidised in Vic? And every new rental property is required to have a water meter.

  5. The fact that NAIF is even considering funding Adani is bewildering.

    The business case is flawed, the product is heading towards obsolescence, the parent company is a repeat offender in enviromental failures in its immediate past, numerous european banks have refused to fund it and the potential to ruin the water source for 200 small towns is high. All this without even mentioning the Great Barrier reef, one of the natural wonders of the world.

    There are so many minuses and so few pluses in this project, its staggering that its still being considered.

    What idiot thought this was good idea? Who in the Australian government or sphere of influence is pushing for this project to go ahead? Who at NAIF said they would fund it? These are the questions that are not being asked.