As I write this column, I have been provided with some amazing news. About not only our environment, but the future of foreign owned mining developments with a proven track record of habitat destruction around the globe.
This week, Queensland MP Greg Hunt and Indian-owned coal mining conglomerate Adani conceded defeat as the Federal Court overturned the approval for the Carmichael coal mine in a victory funded by thousands in the online crowd-funding community GetUp.
The decision, now leaves Adani without an approval for the biggest coal mine in Australia, no approval for dredging in Great Barrier Reef waters, and no investors in sight.
To date, 19 banks have refused to finance Adani’s multi-billion investment. Some made the decision because of climate change policies, or the risk of exposure to an asset that could become stranded as the world prices out fossil fuels.
This has certainly not helped their business case for the project as they are unable to finance it off their own bat.
Adding to concerns were Adani’s recent backflip on production goals for the facility.
The world’s biggest export coal venture, and the biggest mining site in Australia, was the project’s promised, or threatened, scale, depending on your point of view — five underground pits, two massive, open-cut mines, exporting 60 million tonnes of coal.
But Adani has recently scaled back its ambitions, signalling, at least initially, the mine’s output would be far smaller — about 25 million tonnes a year.
In fact, some in the industry believe it could produce as little as five million tonnes, and coal industry analysts are not anticipating any output for at least four years.
This downturn in forecast production was another reason for the lack of confidence in the facility’s financial viability.
Any way you look at it, the Federal Court win this week was a massive shot in the arm for those who have lobbied for protection of the region in the face of large scale foreign investment.
Lobbyists have just won a huge battle, but the war’s not over yet. The law states Minister Hunt must now reconsider the mine, and either grant a new approval or reject it forever.
If you want an interesting read about the horrific impact of an Adani mine in Borneo, including a harrowing tale of Orangutans being sold into sex slavery – this is a very interesting read: https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/06/02/indonesian-borneo-is-finished-they-also-sell-orangutans-into-sex-slavery/