In a surprising twist during a day-long international cricket match between Australia and India at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday, two protesters ran into the field with T-shirts labeled « Stop Adani » and briefly halted the match. They carried posters asking the State Bank of India not to provide the Adani group with a $ 1 billion loan for a coal mining project.
2 protesters stormed into the first game of the ODI 2020 between India and Australia with posters that read « No $ 1 billion. Adani Loan « . . BOOM spoke to one of the protesters, Ben Burdett of the Stop Adani Campaign, to understand why they were protesting against Adani. #INDvAUS @stopadani pic. Twitter. com / jUTzZAPOur
Why are Australians angry with Indian industrialist Gautam Adani, chairman and founder of the Adani group and the second richest man in India?
In 2010 India made its largest mining investment in Australia after the Adani Group bought a coal rental house in the Galilee Basin in Queensland, Australia from the now liquidated Australian energy company Linc Energy for $ 2. 7 billion in cash and royalties. A year later, she bought the Abbot Point Coal Terminal from the Queensland government to facilitate the export of coal to India.
The proposal also included the construction of a 190 km railway to connect the Carmichael mine to the Abbot Point Coal Terminal for a contract that was originally 150 years but was later shortened to 60 years.
For Queensland – a solid coal exporting state – this seemed like a great way to boost local employment, and for the fast-growing Adani group, it was an opportunity to meet the ever-growing demand for coal in the homeland-hungry cities India’s rural areas to be satisfied and electrified
Ten years later, the entire project fell into a quagmire of litigation and financial hurdles. With climate change gaining increasing attention worldwide over the past decade, a push to reduce reliance on fossil fuels has meant that coal mining time is soon running out. None of this was good for the Adani group, which was heavily invested in the Carmichael coal mine.
Despite these hurdles, the Carmichael coal mining project is in full swing and is expected to be exported to India for the first time in 2021.
Critics of the project have repeatedly questioned its financial sustainability. While the Adani Group originally invested € 16 billion. AU $ had announced, she downsized the project significantly in 2018 and announced that the whole thing would cost 2 billion. AU $ would finance itself.
In 2015, the State Bank of India, India’s largest public sector bank, signed a memorandum or agreement with Adani Group for a $ 1 billion loan. USD to fund the project, but was unable to raise any more money from global coal financiers.
The group’s application for funding has been denied by some of the world’s leading coal finance banks including BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Societe Generale, Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs Group, HSBC Holding, JP Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley and Royal Bank of Scotland. Attempts to speak to Chinese and Korean banks also proved unsuccessful.
Then comes the question of insurance. In June, three insurance groups – AXA XL, Liberty Mutual and HDI – that had signed portions of the coal mining project announced that they would no longer renew their insurance for the project after next year. A week later, Aspen Insurance made a similar statement, which pulled back to keep the project insured. Last month, Reuters reported that Lloyd’s of London company Apollo will not renew its insurance for the Carmichael coal mine after its current insurance expired in September 2021.
Although it is not yet certain how the company intends to insure the project, it appears that the SBI loan of 1 billion. USD currently being the only option to get the project up and running. In response to reports of India’s largest public sector bank close to finalizing the massive coal loan, French asset management company Amundi announced yesterday that it will be distributing one of SBI’s green bonds from its flagship Amundi Planet Emerging Green One fund if she agrees to use the coal to finance my project.
While the Adani Group has received approval to produce 60 million tons of coal per year, it is initially forecast to produce only 10 million tons per year, leading many to wonder how financially viable this entire project is.
BOOM has reached out to the Adani group for a comment and the story will be updated if they respond.
One of the strongest drivers against the project has undoubtedly been the increasing activism related to climate change, which over the past 10 years has led to a growing need to end our dependence on fossil fuels.
The Galilee Basin is not only one of the largest high-quality coal reserves in the world, but also home to some rare species such as the yakka skink, the ornamental snake and the cabbage palm. Environmentalists believe that the local ecosystem will be badly hit by mining and threaten the local fauna.
Operations at the Abbot Point Coal Terminal have been seen as a major threat to the Great Barrier Reef from the start. In 2017, the Adani Group was brought to justice after allegedly causing floods of more than eight times the permissible sediment content from the terminal after Cyclone Debbie.
Activism related to climate change came to a boil last year after more than 18 million acres of land were engulfed in one of the most intense bushfires in recent history in Australia in today’s Black Summer. The fires claimed at least 34 lives and billions of other vertebrates. For activist groups like #StopAdani, this is a clear indication of the need to shut down the mine.
In a statement following yesterday’s cricket match protest, the group said: « Last summer, Australia choked on smoke from bushfires as people burned their homes and killed billions of animals. It would be ruthless for the State Bank of India to fund Adani’s climate-damaging coal mine. The mining and burning of this coal will fuel the climate impacts in Australia and India, causing more droughts, floods, deadly heat waves and bush fires. Adani’s proposed coal mine is said to be one of the largest new coal mines in the world and will have catastrophic consequences for the global climate. «
Another major controversy surrounding the project has been that it is located on land traditionally owned by two local factions – Wangan and Jagalingou – and considered sacred by both. The Adani group has reportedly used questionable tactics to get local groups to agree to a voluntary agreement to use sacred areas for mining.
Despite these concerns and the continued activism of climate change activists and indigenous groups, the Carmichael mine is currently up and running and ready to bring good old carbon back home. And none of this would have been possible without a small hand from the Indian and Australian governments.
Gautam Adani’s closeness to the current Narendra Modi-led BJP government has been well documented since Modi came to power and is still reported today.
However, in order to settle a mining project in Australia, Adani had to get the Australian government on its side – something he successfully accomplished by lobbying and exploiting Australia’s love of coal mining. In 2015, former Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it would be « tragic for the world » if the Carmichael coal mine project was delayed due to legal challenges arising from the perceived threat to some rare reptile species in the region.
Despite its support for coal mining, the Abbott Liberal Party was brought back to power last year, led by Scott Morrison, and the government continued its support to oversee coal mining.
Australia’s predilection for coal stems from the fact that fossil fuel has been a major driver of the Australian economy, making Australia the largest coal exporter in the world. Almost 70% of the coal produced in Australia is exported, mostly to fuel hungry, fast growing Asian countries such as Japan, China, Korea and India.
Australia is also known for hosting large numbers of climate change deniers, and this is reflected in the current administration of Scott Morrison as well as other members of the Liberal Party.
The Carmichael Coal Mine Affair was an important polarization problem for the Australians and symbolized their fight against climate change. Activists have been pushed back by the government, which has often advocated the coal mining industry, which supports the enforcement of the Adani operation, and they have been harassed and increasingly pressured by the Adani group.
Last month, court documents accessed by The Guardian revealed that Adani had a private investigator take undercover photos of environmental activist Ben Pennings walking his nine-year-old daughter, and that he followed and monitored Pennings’ wife to come to Pennings allegedly intimidating to withdraw from campaigning against the construction of the railroad project that connects the mine and the port.
Although the operation of the coal mine and the construction work for the rail network are already well advanced, the hurdles for the Adani Group are far from over.
While it is just before the final receipt of the loan of 1 billion. USD from SBI, it was unable to raise enough funds to meet the originally planned investment of 16 billion. Cover AU $. With most of the top global banks declining to support, the Adani Group has suffered a major reputation damage and most of the top global banks are declining to support. There is also the problem of not being sufficiently insured to cover the project, which adds to a further loss of reputation for Adani – the company and the industrialist.
Although the project has officially been in operation for 60 years, the fate of the Carmichael Coal Mine is currently uncertain, pending future decisions by Australian governments and courts.
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Adani Group, Indian State Bank, Amundi, Bonds, Finance, Cricket, Australia, Sydney Cricket Ground, Protest, Carmichael Coal Mine
World News – AU – Why Are Australians Protesting? Against the Adani group?
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