The Adani Question

Every Environmentalist and Climate Activist has, at some time, felt irritated or indeed absolutely furious, that the Australian Government has continued to entertain the idea of allowing the Adani Mine to go ahead. To be honest, I still don’t really grasp why Adani, specifically, has attracted so much attention. It wasn’t until two weeks ago, when I read about the withdrawal of a Chinese mine application, that I knew that other mine was even a question. If the gripe is with coal, then surely all new coal mines should receive equally as much attention.

And some people say Adani is one of the chief reasons why Labor lost the election. So this Indian billionaire has really made his mark on our nation. And, now that the election is over and the “jobs” cry has fallen silent, one might think that the 10 year long fight was over. But the papers are still full of it.

My husband came across this article by John Quiggin on the ABC Website which lays out very logically and reasonably all the reasons why Adani pursuing the mine makes absolutely no financial sense.

  • The mine is having trouble negotiating access to the Aurizon Railway Line which would give their coal access to ports and shipping.
  • No financial institution has been willing to invest a cent in the venture so the billionaire is having to fund it out of his own pockets. The article goes on to lay out the expected returns and notes that they don’t add up (probably a good reason why the banks aren’t paying).
  • Not only have the banks abandoned him but it’s looking like the insurance companies will too.
  • And lastly, because of the small returns, the mine would need a long life and, given the way most nations are going, coal doesn’t have a long life expectancy.

And so, the article wonders, why is Gautam Adani so set on pursuing this mine? Quiggins’ most plausible guess is that the billionaire is looking to secure public funding (having created public pressure via the job illusion), and will quietly declare bankruptcy and disappear once the funding hits his bank account.

And then, this morning, the Sydney Morning Herald printed an article by Tony Moore publishing the contents of a speech made by Al Gore in Brisbane at a Climate Change Conference. According to Mr Gore, India is currently constructing 255 gigwatts of alternative energy infrastructure. In the last 2.5 years, the price of their solar power has reduced by 50% making alternative energy 25% cheaper than coal. Mr Gore also suggests that India has its own coal reserves with coal with more “inherent energy” than the Queensland equivalent. He is adamant that Australia won’t have much luck selling coal to India

Yet, contrary to this theoretical evidence against the mine, the ABC have mentioned supposed drone footage produced by an environmental organization which allegedly shows land already illegally cleared by Adani.

To be honest, it’s two days later and I haven’t figured out a cute way to end this blog post. But I don’t want to delete it either so I’m just going to post it and let readers (if there are any) make up their own minds about what it all means.

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