Billionaire Adani’s controversial mine shows mining coal isn’t easy, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld

* Representative picture *Billionaire Gautam Adani’s coal mine in Australia, a project that has become a global symbol of fossil fuel resistance, is preparing for export after more than a decade of bitter disputes over its development.

The operation, proposed in 2010 and stalled by legal challenges, financial setbacks and an ongoing campaign by climate activists, is expected to ship the first loads before the end of December and is expected to initially deliver 10 million tons of steam coal annually for at least 30 years.

Opposition to the Carmichael Mine, located inland on Australia’s famous Great Barrier Reef in the state of Queensland, ranges from environmental activists to Wall Street banks, insurance companies and investors, and offers a microcosm of the escalating international campaign against the most polluting fossil fuel in the past ten years.

“Carmichael seems to have sparked a wider discussion about the future of steam coal,” said Samantha Hepburn, a law professor at Deakin University in Melbourne who has focused on mining and energy issues. “This is not only happening for activists, but also in boardrooms and for investors around the world who want to reduce their exposure to toxic investments.”

However, the start of overseas sales also reflects coal’s still vital role in the global energy mix, a status that led China and India – the biggest consumers – to scramble for a world-wide deadline for fuel phasing out at COP26 – Mitigate climate talks. Demand is growing in parts of Asia, and Beijing and New Delhi’s remedy to the recent power shortage has been to ramp up coal production.

Carmichael’s exports are being used to power India and countries in Southeast Asia, according to Bravus Mining & Resources, an Adani unit in Australia. Analysts expect at least some of the material to be used by the conglomerate’s own power plants, although the company did not disclose any information about its customers.

“We have already secured the market for the 10 million tons of coal a year,” Bravus said in a statement, confirming that its export plans are on the right track. “The coal is being sold at index-adjusted prices,” and all taxes and duties are paid locally, according to the company. Sea coal prices have risen sharply in recent weeks, slumped from a record high in October, and then made up some of the gains.

The company-funded project has been scaled back from original plans to operate at A $ 16 billion (US $ 11 billion) that could produce 60 million tons per year. The company also lists more than 100 development-secured permits and has developed conservation strategies including plans to protect the critically endangered black-throated finch found in the project area

The Australian government also argues that local mines like Carmichael could reduce global emissions as the coal is of higher quality and will replace the use of more polluting fuels.

Adani, Asia’s second richest man and founder of the Adani Group, faces stiff criticism as his companies seek to increase investments in fossil fuels – including coal mines and power plants – while he announces a $ 70 billion campaign to build a world . leading giants for renewable energies.

“We are doing everything we can to make renewable energy a viable and affordable alternative to fossil fuels,” Adani told Bloomberg India Economic Forum last month, supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of becoming the world’s third largest polluter by 2070.

Ending India’s reliance on coal, which accounts for around 70% of electricity generation, is critical to this goal.

“Adani tries to walk on both sides of the road,” said Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

The Carmichael Project, given its originally planned scale, which could have created Australia’s largest coal mine, has drawn so much attention that it will increase global supply, just as nations including the US are urging consumers to stop fueling quickly, and more resistance from some indigenous landowners.

There were also ongoing concerns that the development, which includes 200 kilometers of railroad track, could help open a number of mines in Queensland’s previously pristine Galilee Basin, a coal-rich region the size of Britain

While other proposals have made little headway recently, the Galilee Basin could potentially produce up to 200 million tons a year – roughly the same as Australia’s existing steam coal exports. Activists describe the prospect of new mines producing these quantities as “an unscrupulous carbon bomb.”

The project even influenced Australian politics. A defense of coal jobs by Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s coalition government enabled her to support and retain office in a 2019 national election in the Queensland mining strongholds. The Morrison administration is now being criticized for a net-zero emissions plan that predicts coal and gas exports – which are expected to generate revenues of approximately A $ 110 billion this fiscal year – can continue beyond 2050.

The debate about the operation was worldwide. Paris-based Amundi SA sold green bond holdings from the State Bank of India, and Bank of New York Mellon Corp., due to the institute’s involvement in the mine. said last month she would cut ties with Carmichael. Siemens AG was confronted with street protests in Munich and was reprimanded by BlackRock Inc. as well as by Fridays for Future activists, including Greta Thunberg, for an order to supply railway signaling systems for the project.

Lenders such as Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. and Investec Plc expressly excluded financing the mine, while banks such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. effectively excluded themselves through stricter coal guidelines.

As Adani makes final preparations to ship initial loads, it faces new attempted disruptions. In the past few days, protesters have climbed aboard coal-laden wagons and lay across a railway line connecting Carmichael to an export terminal. Authorities are not ensuring there are enough deterrents in place to prevent unsafe protests that put lives at risk, Adani’s Abbot Point Operations unit said in a statement.

“It’s the power of the people that slowed Adani’s mine,” said activist Andy Paine Tuesday in a video attached to a rail with a steel pipe on the outskirts of Bowen town. “It is the power of the people that will save us from the destruction of the climate.”

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