Contributed by Ben Wilson
Adani, the owner of the notorious Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, may be given another helping hand by the Queensland state government.
This is, if it allows the request made by the mining magnate, to only submit an operating plan to the end of this year, on order to raise up to $4 billion required for the next stage to build and run the Carmichael Coal mine in the state’s Galilee Basin. The deadline to secure the funding is the end of 2017.
Given the record of bending over backwards to accommodate, it is likely that the request will at least be given serious consideration. opponents are lobbying the government to not give its approval.
The problem with this it that there is no guarantee on what happens from next year on. Once the money is in and expanded operations taking place, there is no guarantee that there will be any meaningful oversight.
Tabling a plan for only six months for a mining operation is highly unusual. They usually cover a 5-year period. It should not be allowed.
Because it has been the Adani style in other places, there is genuine concern that the mine will not take off and the money raised will be siphoned off to Adani’s tax haven in the Cayman Islands. Suspicion that something untoward might be going on was raised after the transfer of between $1oo million to $400 million to the parent company in India, suggesting that not all the money is being used for operational purposes at the mine site.
The possibility is that after securing his money and selling out to other operators, Adani will walk away with a trunk full of cash. The extent of local and national opposition and lack of support from the Wangan and Jagaingou, the traditional owners of the land, has made it more likely that there will be a plan B.
Despite the evidence of the way the Adani companies operate and a string of convictions and pending cases outside Australia, the Queensland government seems determined to help in whichever way it can.
there is no ironclad arrangement to ensure the mine meets basic environmental conditions,whoever ends up as the operator.
In the 6-month plan there are no details covering either construction or operations. There is no plan to restore the expected land disturbance or other damage, if it occurs after 2017. A by-product of this is that Adani only needs to pay a much smaller bond than would be the case for a longer-term plan, which would be the case if operations were declared to be on a much larger scale.
Carmel Flint, as spokesperson of the Lock The Gate Alliance, which is campaigning against Carmichael, commented that the short time frame showed the company is “not prepared to start work in earnest…” The sense is that Adani is having some difficulty raining finance and the next stage of Carmichael is in some doubt.
Nevertheless, allowing this favoured treatment, will create a veil of secrecy. This is wrong.