Contributed from Queensland
Mining mogul Gautam Adani’s operation in Australia has announced that the expansion of the Carmichael coal mine will begin in October and in full production be in place by March 2020.
The news comes from a company statement issued on 27 August.
Up till now there has been considerable uncertainty, due to difficulty in securing funding from financial institutions.
Adani’s Australian head, Jeyakumar Janakaraj, said that Charters Towers-based civil contracting firm GA Services would be among the first regional contractors to benefit from the start of works. The company has been contracted to refurbish the company’s existing exploration camp accommodation.
The decision to move ahead with the mine is significant and likely to have been influenced by the $1 billion concessional loan offered by the federal government. While this has not been officially secured yet, the high level of government support is clear, regardless of widespread community opposition and a significant environmental threat, especially to the Great Barrier Reef. Critics say the project will add to the threat of global warming.
The announcement comes after the Federal Court dismissed last Friday, of two legal bids to stop the mine from going ahead, lodged by the Australian Conservation Foundation and traditional landowner Adrian Burragubba.
The battle being waged by opponents of Carmichael is far from over yet. It has merely entered a new phase and the standoff will continue.
Considerable doubt remains over the real plans of the Adani group and whether Carmichael will primarily be used to siphon funds offshore, rather than maintain the operation for the longer term.
Further funding form financial institutions has not yet been secured, as banks reel in the face mounting public pressure. It is likely that the announcement has been engineered in part to break the current deadlock.
In the public eye, the whole affair smacks of a deal for mates and widespread political corruption, involving gifts and junkets to political figures. The lack of proper procedures and oversight has been a scandal.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Defenders Office said it would continue to examine the lawfulness of the mine.