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Last update: 2022-06-13 00:00:00
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About Carmichael coal mine project
The Carmichael coal project, owned and operated by Indian conglomerate Adani, is located in the Queensland's Galilee Basin. Initial production capacity is projected to be 10 million tonnes of coal per year, though Adani has obtained the approval to produce 60 million tonnes of coal per year. The plan also involves hundreds of kilometres of new railway tracks and new coal port terminals that threaten the Great Barrier Reef. It is estimated to cost AUD 16.5 billion.
Adani obtained the required state and federal approvals in 2021, but actually started the construction of the mine in June 2019 and of the rail line in June 2020. After many years of sinking investment expenditures - combined with strong political support in Australia and Queensland - the project is on the verge of starting commercial extraction in 2022 (DIW Berlin May 2022).
The extent and intensity of the impacts associated with this project would be profound. And yet, the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is riddled with holes and errors. This raises serious questions about whether the current approvals system is adequately equipped to protect people and the environment from developments that are just too damaging.
Any new coalmines in Australia’s Galilee Basin, including Adani’s Carmichael mine, will not be economically viable
Why this profile?
The Carmichael coal mine project under construction will destroy the ancestral lands, waters and cultures of Indigenous peoples - who have never given their consent to Adani. The project will also negatively impact the environment and significantly contribute to climate breakdown, by emitting around 4.7 billion tonnes of carbon pollution to the atmosphere over its 60-year lifespan.
What must happen
Banks and other financial institutions should declare their intention not to finance the Carmichael coal mine project.
Social and human rights impacts
A report published by IEEFA in May 2014 has shown that coal exported to India from the Galilee Basin in Australia would need a wholesale electricity price, double India's current level, to be viable, categorically discrediting the argument that it might alleviate India's energy poverty.
The Carmichael coal mine is being built on the land of the Wangan and Jagalingou peoples, who strongly oppose the project. In 2018, the Austrialian court quashed a court case by the Wangan and Jagalingou Indigenous people trying to block Adani from developing the Carmichael coal mine. In August 2019, The Guardian reported that Queensland government ''has extinguished the native title over 1,385 hectares of Wangan and Jagalingou country for the proposed Adani coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin - without any public announcement of the decision''. This decision can result in Wangan and Jagalingou protesters to be forcibly removed from their traditional lands.
Environmental and climate impacts
In the orginal plans the coal mine would be responsible for releasing up to 128 million tonnes of CO2 per year from burning the coal, more than the combined fossil fuel emissions of Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The changed plans of Adani in November 2018, in which the capacity is set at 27 million tonnes of coal, would make the mine responsible for emitting an estimated 54 million tonnes of CO2. The mine will cover a whopping 44,700 hectare. Over 10,000 hectare of bushland will be wiped out, much of it home to threatened species. Ten billion litres of water will be sucked up from the surrounding environment and Adani already owns one huge coal terminal at Abbot Point in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and is proposing two more.
When surveying the site for the EIS, consultants for Adani sighted the endangered Black-throated finch (southern) 89 times. The company plans to clear around 10,000 hectares of important habitat for the species.
The mine will also cause drawdown of groundwater at a Great Artesian Basin discharge spring wetland called Doongmabulla Springs. The springs host endemic and threatened plant species, but these have not been assessed as part of the mine’s EIS. For one threatened plant at least, Doongmabulla Springs provides habitat critical to its survival.
The assessment also fails to analyse the impact of dramatic levels of groundwater drawdown on groundwater-dependent species and communities in the surrounding area, including gorgeous River Red Gums along the banks of the Carmichael, which are Koala habitat. The EIS states that the company expects the mine to cause 30 metre drawdown of groundwater at its greatest impact, resulting in a seven percent reduction in flow of the Carmichael River, and death of downstream vegetation.
A 2017 report by the Climate Council of Australia on the Carmichael coal mine project concluded that: for Australia to play its role in tackling climate change, over 90% of Australia’s existing thermal coal reserves must be left in the ground unburned and no new thermal mines can be developed.
Adani has a history of breaking the rules and causing environmental destruction. Adani's flagship project Mundra, the largest private port in India, is a textbook case of how to flaunt environmental regulations. Adani deliberately concealed and falsified material facts when applying for part of the development. Construction began illegally and officials found multiple violations of the development approval including mass clearing of mangroves which have been the subject of several court cases. Aside from the Mundra port, Adani was investigated by an anti-corruption ombudsman who found evidence of bribery and theft in the export of iron ore and has been the proponent of other environmentally destructive projects.
The Carmichael project is uneconomic: it is a high cost coal product in a low priced coal market with an uncertain future. Carmichael coal has a low quality, but the cost structure is likely to remain above the global thermal coal price for the foreseeable future.
Applicable norms and standards
Any new coalmines in Australia’s Galilee Basin, including Adani’s Carmichael mine, will not be economically viable
Any new coalmines in Australia’s Galilee Basin, including Adani’s Carmichael mine, will not be economically viable in the long run under even the most generous assumptions about the future of the fossil fuel, according to an analysis by German academics. The study, developed in conjunction with Australian experts, found it was “highly implausible” that mines in the central Queensland basin could run profitably and there was a high chance they would end up as stranded assets (The Guardian).
The State Bank of India set to offer a US$650 million loan to Adani coal project
In November 2020, it was reported that the State Bank of India (SBI) is set to offer a US$650 million loan to Adani, enough to keep its Carmichael coal mine project going. The controversial news has led to global opposition. In Sydney, #StopAdani activists walked into the Sydney Cricket Ground protesting against the loan. Amundi, French asset management company, has said it will sell the green bonds it holds in SBI if the bank grants the loan to Adani's Carmichael coal mine.
The Queensland Government signs a deal allowing Adani to defer royalty payments
On October 1 2020, the Queensland Government signed a deal with Adani to defer payment of royalties on its Carmichal coal mine. This deal allows Adani to increase its cash flow during the first years of the project - which is beneficial for the company given its inability to obtain finance for the project and its 2018 decision to self-fund a downsized version of the project. The Australian Conservation Foundation describes the deal as ''a disgrace'': ''Australia’s big four banks and dozens of other financiers around the world have distanced themselves from Adani, yet the Queensland government has rolled out the red carpet for a mine that will soon become a stranded asset''. (The Guardian)
Adani forced to haul its own coal
Market Forces reports that Adani will be self-transporting Carmichael coal from pit to port, under the veil of the newly created Bowen Rail Company. According to Market Forces, Adani seems to have hidden this development as all website and media communications do not mention 'Adani' or 'Carmichael'. This development first of all illustrates that the project is getting more expensive, as Adani is not contracting an established haulage provider. Instead, it is forced to start its own haulage company (Bowen Rail Company) and purchase its own trains to transport the coal. The development also shows that Adani could be funneling finance from other Adani companies - specifically Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), which owns the Bowen Rail Company - into the Carmichael coal project. This means that investors in Adani Ports are at risk of unintentionally funding the Carmichael coal project.
Adani signs a AUS$350 million deal for the construction of rail network
Adani has signed a AUD 350 million contract with BMD Group for the construction of a rail network at the Carmichael coal mine. The rail network project will consist of 200 kilometres of rail track. The track will enable coal to be transported from the Carmichael mine to the Port of Abbot Point for export.
Adani Mining’s Carmichael coal mine project receives final approval
Adani Mining’s plan to build a 10 million tonnes open-pit thermal coal mine and associated infrastructure in the Galilee Basin of Queensland, Australia, looks like its moving forward after the company sealed the final approvals it requires to start construction. Lucas Dow, CEO Adani Mining, confirmed that the company had received advice from the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Science (DES) that the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Management Plan (GDEMP) had been finalised and approved.
Adani changes plans for Carmichael coal mine
Adani is now planning to build the mine in phases, starting at 10-15 million tonnes per year, with capacity to expand to 27 million tonnes per year (which would still be as big as any other coal mine in Australia), transported along a 200 kilometers narrow gauge rail line that links up with Aurizon’s existing Newlands rail system, which already carries coal to Abbot Point. The plan for a new Abbot Point terminal has been shelved; the existing terminal to have its capacity expanded to from 50 to 60 million tonnes per year. Significantly, this change has almost halved the rail line cost from around AUD 2.5 billion to around AUD 1.2 billion. The total project cost including the mine could now be down to less than AUD 3 billion, less than one fifth the amount of capital required just a few years ago (Market Forces).
Adani to begin construction of Carmichael coal mine in October
Indian mining giant Adani has announced it will break ground on its Carmichael coal mine in Queensland in October. Company chairman Gautam Adani issued a statement overnight, confirming the start of works for the $16.5 billion project in Queensland’s Galilee basin, with the first coal to be produced by the facility in March 2020 (News.com.au).
Adani gives 'green light' to $16bn Carmichael coal mine
Indian billionaire Gautam Adani has given the “green light” to the Carmichael mine and rail project, but it will still hinge on its Australian arm, Adani Mining, gaining bank backing for the contentious venture. Adani’s top executive in Australia, Jeyakumar Janakaraj, took a dig at “activists who sit in creature comfort and criticise us” while trumpeting the decision to invest in Australia’s largest proposed coalmine. The company is yet to secure its bid for a $900m infrastructure loan from the federal government for a railway that would help other miners open up Queensland’s Galilee Basin (The Guardian).
Environmental Justice Australia's report shows Adani's disastrous track record
A detailed legal research brief by Environmental Justice Australia, reveals Indian based Adani Group’s track record overseas, including illegal dealings, bribery, environmental and social devastation and allegations of corruption, fraud and money laundering. The Adani Brief puts Australian governments and potential financiers on notice that backing the Carmichael mine and rail project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin may expose them to financial and reputational risks. The full brief can be read here.
Indian agencies investigate Adani
Adani Enterprises, the ultimate parent company of the proposed Carmichael mine in Australia, is one of the coal companies under investigation by India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) for inflating the cost of imported coal. For a decade the DRI has been investigating Adani entities which traded in diamonds and gold jewellery. Adani Enterprises was named in a 2011 report by Karnataka’s state ombudsman in which documents seized by police allegedly “indicate that money has been regularly paid to port authorities, customs authorities, police department, mines and geology and even to MLAs/MPs.” Adani has rejected the allegations. (ABC News, Scroll)
Adani freezes investment in Carmichael mine until world coal price recovers
According The Guardian: Adani has frozen its investment in Australia's largest proposed coalmine until world coal prices show a clear recovery, its executives have indicated in stock analyst briefings in India. The briefings even gave rise to speculation that Adani Enterprises, which has previously flagged spending USD4.1 billion on the Carmichael mine in north Queensland, might abandon its plans for the mine altogether amid a huge move by the company into solar energy.
Adani's Carmichael coal mine gains final Queensland Government environmental approval
Adani's Carmichael coal mine has received its final environmental approval from the Queensland Government, but will still need a mining lease before it proceeds, according to abc.net.au.
Four reasons why the Carmichael coal mine still might not go ahead
According the Greenpeace's Energydesk: Indian mining giant Adani's controversial Carmichael coal mine has received a "re-approval" from the Australian government. Environment minister Greg Hunt attached 36 conditions, described as the "toughest in the country's history", to the approval in an attempt to address environmental concerns around vulnerable species and groundwater usage.
Green light from federal government
The Australian environment minister, Greg Hunt, has approved a AUD16.5 billion resources project that will lead to the creation of the largest coal mine in Australia, and one of the largest in the world. Hunt has imposed 36 conditions, primarily aimed at protecting groundwater, on the Carmichael coal mine and rail project, which will dig up and transport about 60 million tonnes of coal a year for export.
Queensland’s Coordinator-General is inviting State agencies and the community to provide further comment
Queensland’s Coordinator-General is inviting
State agencies and the community to provide further comment on the
proposed AUD16.5 billion Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail project north-west
of Clermont. Read more here.
In November 2018, Adani reported it will finance the Carmichael coal mine project itself.
In July 2020, Market Forces reported that several banks, that pledged not to finance the Carmichael coal project, could be unintentionally doing so by running the bond issue that Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) are aiming to raise. These banks include: Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered, Barclays and JPMorgan Chase.
For an extensive overview of financiers of Adani, see BankTrack's profile of Adani here.
In August 2015, Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), followed by Standard Chartered, backed off from the Carmichael project. In September 2015 National Australia Bank (NAB) declared to rule out financing for the Carmichael project, adding itself to a list of fourteen international banks (among them Deutsche Bank, HSBC, State Bank of India) which already decided so.
U turn? MNC banks now okay with Adani 'interest' in emissions-intensive industry
‘Highly implausible’ that new Galilee Basin coalmines would be profitable, study finds
Revealed: HESTA and other super funds investing in Adani coal mining subsidiary
Standard Chartered and Barclays fund Adani’s coal mining subsidiary
Indigenous custodians target Deutsche Bank for ‘breaking promise’ on Adani
Net zero vs zero ambition - the choice at Standard Chartered AGM
Exclusive: Helvetia rules out involvement in controversial Adani coal mine
Billionaire Adani’s disputed mine shows ditching coal isn’t easy
US bank BNY Mellon cuts ties with Adani’s Carmichael coal mine
Banks’ green pledges under scrutiny
Bank of New York Mellon involved in potential Adani coal deal
Standard Chartered shareholders challenge bank to live up to net zero promise on fossil fuels
Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and Standard Chartered break promise and loan US$1 billion to Adani coal miner
Adani wants children to solve global warming while it makes things worse
Top Indian bank drags its feet on billionaire Adani coal loan
Banking on Climate Chaos 2021: World’s 60 largest banks have poured USD 3.8 trillion into fossil fuels since Paris Agreement
HSBC shareholders seek exit from funding Adani's 'contentious' Australian coalmine
Siemens under pressure again over Australia mega coal mine
Major Lloyd's insurer Brit says it will not insure Adani's Carmichael thermal coal mine
Bravus (formerly Adani) accused of environmental breaches, amid concerns about 'significant erosion'
DRA Global secures $108m contract for Carmichael project in Australia
Amundi gives bond warning to State Bank of India over Adani's Australian coal mine
“No 1B Adani Loan” Protestors Barge Into Sydney Cricket Ground In A Bid To Protest Against SBI
State Bank of India set to offer Rs 5000 cr loan to Carmichael coal project in Australia
Queensland teenagers lodge legal action against Adani coal mine to save Great Barrier Reef
Queensland strikes royalties deal with Adani coalmine, allowing it to defer payment
Adani legal action sparks fears journalists could be targeted over Carmichael mine leaks
Access to Adani’s Carmichael coal mine in Queensland blocked by traditional owners
Second major Korean brokerage withdraws financial backing for Adani's coal projects
Adani mine: three major insurers to have no further involvement in coal project
Coal finance exit in France – Banks and insurers urged to drop coal expansion clients and make good on commitments
Queensland extinguishes native title over Indigenous land to make way for Adani coal mine
How one billionaire could keep three countries hooked on coal for decades
IEEFA Australia: Queensland government about to make poor economic decision on Adani mine
Rothschild & Co bank called on to end support for Adani’s massive new coal mine
Media Release: World’s biggest insurers will not cover Adani Group’s Carmichael coal mine
State and federal investigation launched into Adani's Carmichael water drilling
Profits of Adani's Carmichael mine company tumble, leaving it in financial peril
Adani: Thousands turn out across Australia to protest against Carmichael coal mine
IEEFA Australia: Escalating financial risk in Adani's Abbott Point Coal Terminal
Adani mining giant faces financial fraud claims as it bids for Australian coal loan
Carmichael coalmine: Commonwealth Bank indicates it will not lend to Adani
Queensland Investment Corporation denies planning to fund Galilee coal mines
Westpac’s new climate policy rules out most new coal mines – including Carmichael!
Adani coalmine: ANZ chief suggests bank would not finance Carmichael project
We should be putting the brake on the Carmichael coalmine, not hitting the accelerator
Carmichael mine to be given 'essential' status in sign of Palaszczuk support
Indigenous opponents of Adani's Carmichael mine to intensify court battle
Adani freezes investment in Carmichael mine until world coal price recovers
Australian coalmines are one of riskiest investments in the world – report
Treasurer Curtis Pitt says Galilee Basin mining not the be-all and end-all for Queensland economy
How Adani group can get its USD7.2 billion coal mine project in Queensland back on track
Global insurer Aviva warns of 'grave reputational risks' of Carmichael mine
Standard Chartered quits controversial Carmichael coalmine in Queensland
Tony Abbott's defence of the Carmichael coalmine is passionate but baseless
Costly Coal - Standard Chartered's role in a coal project threatening the Great Barrier Reef
Future of Carmichael mine hinges not on skinks or snakes, but its business case
Adani dissolves 50-strong project team from troubled USD16.5 billion Carmichael mine
Indigenous Australians call on Standard Chartered not to fund coal mine project
Pressure builds for UK’s Standard Chartered to refuse investment to Great Barrier Reef coal project
Aboriginal landowners throw fresh legal challenge to Adani Group's Carmichael coal project in Australia
Don’t invest in Australia coal mines, scientists warn banks in bid to halt climate change
Greenpeace activists protest Standard Chartered’s role in reef wrecking coal mine
Standard Chartered faces pressure to cut links to Australian 'carbon bomb' project
Adani coalmine would not deliver jobs and royalties promised, land court hears
Adani has ambitious plan to open Carmichael megamine in Galilee Basin by 2017
Les banques françaises se retirent du plus grand projet charbonnier au monde
Victory for the climate and environment: French banks pledge not to finance mega coal projects in Australia's Galilee Basin
Aboriginal group fights to stop $16bn Carmichael coalmine, Australia’s largest
Great Barrier Reef campaign: scientists call for scrapping of coal projects
India's SBI to turn down Adani's $1 bln Australian loan request - sources
With Queensland election promises, and mining projects, it's wise to keep digging
Federal court asked to overturn Adani mine approval due to impact on Great Barrier Reef
Keystone XL and Galilee basin threaten to bring down the global climate talks
Australia's Partnership With an Indian Mining Giant Could Destroy the Great Barrier Reef
National Stock Exchange of India quizzes Adani on loan for Galilee Basin coal project
Wise investment or fossil fools? Queensland backs coal as G20 moves the game on
RAN Applauds Move by U.S. Banks to Reject Australian Coal Port
Carmichael mine: Indian conservation group joins legal battle with Adani
Take it from us in India: the world needs renewables, not more Australian exported coal
Greg Hunt says green-lighted Galilee Basin coal mine won't have big impact on Great Barrier Reef
Increase in clean energy cess on imported coal: Adani, GVK and Tatas to redraw foreign assets
Royal Bank of Scotland Rules Out Financing Major Coal Port Expansion
Deutsche Bank says No to Financing of Coal Harbor on the Great Barrier Reef
Galilee Basin coalmine: Queensland government granted approval despite expert environmental concerns
Doubts raised over financial viability of Galilee Basin coal mine proposal
Press release – The beginning of the end of imported coal in India: report exposes economic flaws
UNESCO condemns Federal Government's approval of dredge spoil on Great Barrier Reef
Greenpeace calls for Galilee Basin halt until threat to rare birds is assessed
Carmichael Coal Mine: Unacceptable Impacts on Major Rivers and Groundwater
Stranded Assets in the Coal Export Industry? The Case of the Australian Galilee Basin
Investor Briefing: Adani Ports to haul Carmichael coal, exposing investors to reputational & financial risks
A house of cards in Australia: Adani's Abbott Point coal terminal faces escalating financial risk
The Adani Brief
Standard Chartered's involvement in the Carmichael coal mine would be 'non-standard' and 'unchartered', on the bank's own terms
(Mis)calculated risk and climate change. Are rating agencies repeating credit crisis mistakes?
A review of the Adani group’s environmental history in the context of the Carmichael coal mine approval
Research Briefing: Adani’s record of environmental destruction and non - compliance with regulations.
Greenpeace submission for the Environmental Impact Statement for the Carmichael mine and rail project
In November 2010 Adani began the approval process to establish two new mines (including the Carmichael coal mine) and a rail line in the Galilee Basin. The Queensland Premier, then Anna Bligh, declares the Carmichael coal mine and rail project to be a ''significant project''.
In May 2014 Queensland's Coordinator-General approved the Carmichael coal project to proceed. The approval was subject to 190 conditions to be met during construction and operation phases of the project. These conditions paid particular attention to groundwater and water bores potentially affected. The final approval was then to be given by Greg Hunt, the Australian Minister for Environment at that time.
In July 2014 Greg Hunt approved the Carmichael coal mine and rail project. Environmentalists express strong opposition. The Mackay Conservation Group, which already began a federal challenge against the mine, amended its complaint to include allegations against Greg Hunt. The Group argued he has ''incorrectly assessed its climate effects, ignored Adani's poor environmental record, and failed to consider conservation advice from his own department on the impact of the mine on two vulnerable species''.
In March 2015 The Wangan and Jagalingou people, the traditional owners of the land in the Galilee Basin, reject an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with Adani.
In August 2015 The Federal Court rules in favour of the legal challenge by the Mackay Conservation Group, which is described as ''a victory for land and water, biodiversity, the global climate and also for common sense''. Adani stated that it is confident it will receive approval for its project again ''once the technicality is addressed''.
In October 2015 The government re-approves the Carmichael coal mine, subject to 36 conditions. It is argued by the Resources Minister that the project can help lift hundreds of millions of people out of energy poverty in India and across the world. The Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners denounce the decision.
In February 2016 Adani was issued environmental authority for the Carmichael coal mine by the Australian government. Adani still needs to obtain bank funding and a mining lease from the Queensland government.
In April 2016 The Queensland government approves mining leases for Adani. Adani said a final investment decision would not be made until court challenges against the project would be resolved.
In August 2018 The Austrialian court quashes a court case by the Wangan and Jagalingou Indigenous people trying to block Adani from developing the Carmichael coal mine.
In November 2018 Adani announced that it will self-finance its project after being inable to secure outside investments. The project will be scaled back, making its size comparable to other Queensland coal mines.
In June 2019 Adani obtains the final mining approval.