November 29, 2018 Read More →

Adani downsizes Australian coal mine plan, says it will build without government support

The New York Times:

After months of protests over whether Australia should subsidize one of the world’s largest coal mines, the Indian mining giant Adani announced on Thursday that it would scale the project back and finance it itself.

The Carmichael mine had been projected to produce 60 million tons a year from the coal-rich Galilee Basin; now the output will start at 10 million tons and rise to 27.5 million, the company said, putting it more in line with other mines in the area.

“The project stacks up both environmentally and financially,” said Lucas Dow, Adani Australia’s chief executive. “We will now deliver the jobs and business opportunities we have promised for North Queensland and Central Queensland, all without requiring a cent of Australian taxpayer dollars.” The company had previously asked for a taxpayer-financed loan of a billion Australian dollars, about $730 million.

Critics of the plan — and they are legion — said the company was trying to rush ahead and break ground because of polls indicating that the next federal election could be won by the Labor Party, which is likely to oppose the mine. There are still obstacles in place, involving water and other issues, but the company maintains that they are procedural and will soon be resolved.

Resistance to the mine remains strong. It has become an environmental cause célèbre across Australia, with legal challenges, protests and celebrities painting “Stop Adani” on their cheeks. The concerns have focused on potential damage to the Great Barrier Reef, because of a port connected to the mine along Australia’s North Queensland coast, and more broadly on coal’s damaging contribution to climate change.

More: Adani to proceed with scaled-back version of contentious Australian coal mine

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