Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Adani's $16.5 Billion Coal Mine in Australia Faces Fresh Wave of Protests

  • Former Greens leader Brown spearheads 13-member alliance
  • India’s Gautam Adani sees Carmichael mine starting in 2020

A new environmental campaign to stop the development of Adani Group’s $16.5 billion coal mine in Queensland will be launched Wednesday with the high-profile backing of former Australian Greens party leader Bob Brown.

“Adani and the federal government have no idea of the scale of opposition and voter backlash they’re facing -- it is time for them to withdraw approvals for the mine and stop coal for good,” Brown said in an emailed statement.

Three-quarters of Australians oppose a plan for Adani to tap a $900 million government subsidy to help fund infrastructure connected to the mine, according to a ReachTEL poll released by the new Stop Adani Alliance. The campaign group brings together 13 conservation and community organizations representing 1.5 million Australians, according to the statement.

Australia’s largest coal project -- which could fuel power generation for 100 million Indians and create 10,000 jobs in Queensland -- has ignited protests from green groups concerned the development will increase carbon pollution and endanger the health of the Great Barrier Reef marine park in northern Queensland. Environmental opposition to the mine, which could begin production in 2020, has delayed the first phase of the project and prompted the company to cut underground capacity by 38 percent.

The environmental protesters are “demonstrating against jobs” in Australia and “economic and social development in India,” a spokesman for Adani’s Australian unit said in an email Wednesday. The protest is a “futile” gesture and the Carmichael coal mine project is going to proceed, Minerals Council of Australia Chief Executive Brendan Pearson said. The lobby group for the mining industry lists Adani as a member company.

A final investment decision is due to be made by Adani as early as May. The group has invested $3.3 billion in the mine, railway and port project, Gautam Adani, the billionaire chairman of the Indian group, said at a media briefing last week.

Adani has rejected previous campaigns by green groups against the mine, saying the development meets strict environmental guidelines. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk have publicly backed the project.

The ReachTEL telephone survey of 2,134 Australian residents was carried out on March 14. No margin of error was given.

Adani Enterprises Ltd., the flagship company of the Adani Group, fell as much as 2 percent to 101.55 rupees and traded at 102.15 rupees as of 2:41 p.m. in Mumbai.

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