October 5, 2018 Read More →

New concern about Aussie government’s role in Adani coal project

The Sydney Morning Herald:

Australian and South Korean officials have discussed drumming up investment in the controversial Adani mega-mine, according to official documents that appear to throw into doubt claims by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that it has not helped secure finance for the project.

The revelations will prompt questions over why the Australian government is promoting the commercial interests of the Indian mining giant, and open South Korea to a similar public campaign that prompted Chinese banks to rule out financing the contentious project.

In a memo sent from Seoul to Canberra, obtained under freedom of information laws, South Korean officials discuss potential investment in the Adani project. The heavily redacted DFAT document, dated November 4, 2016, was obtained by environmental campaign group Market Forces. The title refers to “Adani engagement” and refers to a known meeting between DFAT and the Korea Export-Import Bank.

DFAT has said on the public record that the meeting was to confirm that federal environmental approvals for the project had been granted. But the memo confirms that Korean investment in the project was also discussed.

Adani’s Carmichael mine would be Australia’s largest and would open coal reserves in Queensland’s Galilee Basin to further development. But the proposal has faced staunch community and political opposition, largely over its environmental impact, and has struggled to secure private sector finance.

Former head of equity research at Citigroup, Tim Buckley, now a director at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, questioned why the federal government was “promot[ing] a foreign private billionaire’s interests. They are there to serve the people of Australia,” he said, saying employment and other local benefits from the project had been overstated.

More: Documents show Australian and South Korean officials discussed financing Adani mega-mine

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