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Renew Economy: 

It’s official. After a decade of delays, protests and acrimonious debate, followed by two years of expensive construction work, Indian conglomerate Adani has finally got its hands on some actual Queensland coal.

“It is wonderful that we have now struck coal,” David Boshoff, chief executive of Adani’s Australian mining operations, said on Thursday.

“Throughout the last two years of construction and during the many years when we fought to secure our approvals, our people have put their hearts and souls into this project.”

The announcement came with a photo of nine smiling mine workers, each holding an enormous lump of black thermal coal, 10 million tonnes a year of which is destined to be shipped out of the Abbot Point coal terminal and burned thousands of kilometres away in Indian power plants.

In the process, the mine will provide 2600 local jobs and add somewhere in the region of 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year to the atmosphere, doing its bit to push up global temperatures past a dangerous point of no return.

Thursday also happened to be billionaire boss Gautam Adani’s 59th birthday. To mark the occasion, two mine workers sent a birthday video message to their “dear chairman” back in India, one of them cradling a lump of Carmichael coal in his arms, thanking the tycoon for his “resilience”. Adani himself tweeted in response that “there couldn’t be a better birthday gift.”

But does the world even want or need this coal? Eleven years on from Adani’s original investment decision, the global energy landscape has changed beyond recognition. Renewables are now, out and away, the cheapest form of new energy. Nations are taking climate change ever more seriously, committing to ambitious targets that will require a rapid phase-out of coal. And global investors increasingly want nothing to do with this most climate polluting of fossil fuels.

[James Fernyhough]

More: Adani strikes Carmichael coal, but does the world even want it?

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