Environmentalists have been challenging the mine’s construction, in an attempt to stop more fossil fuels adding to Australia’s already high emissions. The case was dismissed because the court found that the cause and effect was complicated, the lower court stating that it was "not possible for him [the Minister] to draw firm conclusions as to the likely contribution of Adani's action to a specific increase in global temperature" and that if the coal was stopped from the Carmichael Mine it would likely be substituted from somewhere else. [69] Most of the coal from the mine would be purchased by Adani in India. In Australia coal deposits occur in all States and the Northern Territory and range from 15 million to 225 million years old. [48] Fahrer described the method used to produce the 10,000 figure as 'deficient'. The Saraji open-pit coal mine located in the Bowen Basin of Central Queensland is Australia’s fourth-biggest and the world’s tenth biggest coal mine by recoverable coal reserves. [12] The majority of the mine lies within the Isaac Region, with a small portion in the Charters Towers Region local government area. Australia needs to shut more than half of its coal-fired power stations by 2030 to have a hope of working towards the 1.5-degree goal outlined by the IPCC last year. Australia is the biggest coal exporter in the world, having produced about 510 million tonnes (Mt) in 2017/18, of which about 75% was exported — making it the third-largest exporter of fossil fuels. [79] After Labor's election victory, the new Queensland Treasurer confirmed the government will not fund the rail line, but did not rule out other forms of support such as a royalty holiday. [89], In the wake of disastrous 2019–20 Australian bushfire season, Australia's climate policies, including the Carmichael mine, have become an ongoing topic of public discussion in Australia.[90]. Australia’s production is already 7.1% of world coal production. Black coal consists of the higher rank anthracite, bituminous and sub-bituminous coals. Despite reports Federal Court "overturned" the approval,[104] the decision occurred by consent order signed by the Department of Environment and Adani. In early September 2014, the plan to dump dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park area was scrapped. The Peak Downs coal mine is located in the Bowen Basin of central Queensland and is currently the country’s biggest coal mine by recoverable reserves. That the Minister unlawfully excluded consideration of greenhouse gas emissions to emissions directly associated with the operation of the mine. The industry took a major hit last year, however, when thermal coal prices experienced their biggest annual drop for more than a decade — plummeting from $101 in December, 2018, to $66 a year later. The main contention was that the Minister did not consider the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the Great Barrier Reef. [74] Queensland Treasury wrote in a submission to the Commonwealth Grants Commission: Governments face budget constraints and spending on mining-related infrastructure means less infrastructure spending in other areas, including social infrastructure such as hospitals and schools. [22], By mid August 2015, Adani had ceased commercial relationships with a number of engineering contractors and banks. It is the eighth-largest gold mine in the world, and had recoverable coal reserves of 591Mt in 2019. Water is a highly contested resource in this long, oppressive drought, and the coal industry is one of Australia’s biggest water users. The original plan was to build a 60Mt-a-year mega-mine, which would have made it one of the largest in the world. At 2016 Australia contained 29% of the world's defined uranium resources. [3] The surface disturbance area is 27,892 hectares (68,923 acres). These two states are also the largest coal producers. [119][120], Substantial controversy about federal environmental law followed the 2015 Federal Court decision to set aside the Carmichael approval (agreed by consent orders signed by the government). [62], In 2015 environment groups have pursued campaigns to pressure banks to rule out funding the project. [40][41] Following the project delays, the proposed airstrip has been shelved with the budgeted money allocated to other shovel-ready projects. [9] Greta Thunberg has drawn international attention to the mine. The Saraji coal mine was estimated to contain a total of 502Mt of recoverable coal reserves, including 442Mt of proven and 60Mt of probable coal reserves in 2019. [46] Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott cited the 10,000 jobs figure as evidence "this mine is good for the country". The largest coal mine in the world by reserves is the North Antelope Rochelle coal mine in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming, US. AAP April 1, 2015 9:40am. It is estimated to hold 549Mt of recoverable coal reserves, including 530Mt of proved and 19Mt of probable ore reserves last year. [54], In 2015, a number of major international banks publicly ruled out financing the Carmichael Mine and Rail Project, or the Abbot Point Coal Terminal on which the Carmichael project depends. The latest move by the Abbott government puts at risk not just our environment but our very democracy"[123], Proposed coal mine in Queensland, Australia. The Mount Arthur (Mt Arthur) coal mine is located in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales and began production in 1968. Moray Downs, which is covered by the mine site, is home to the largest known community of black throated finches[94] The finches' population is in decline, and the southern subspecies is threatened, having vanished from 80% of its former range. While Australia's mineable black coals range from Permian to Jurassic in age (280 to 150 million years old), most of Australia's black coal resources are of Permian age. The largest gold mine outside of Western Australia, Evolution’s Cowal mine is located 350km west of Sydney, in New South Wales. [118], In June 2019 the government acknowledged that they had acted incorrectly in failing to properly consider the thousands of public submissions it received, and conceded the case, but did not address the question of whether it failed to correctly apply the water trigger. Some have encouraged customers to switch bank accounts and mortgages away from the large banks funding coal projects. [12], In 2010, the Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announced the Coordinator-General declared that the proposed Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project was being assessed as a 'Significant Project'. According to the Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) submitted by Adani, "maximum impacts in excess of 300m are predicted" for the local water table. He was criticised by the coal mining industry for this action. [15] The mine site covers an area of 44,700 hectares (110,456 acres), around 447 square kilometres (173 sq mi), and is about 50 kilometres (31 mi) long. Two parallel proposals for rail lines between the Carmichael mine and port facilities were floated during the planning process. [32][33] Authorities suggested the line be financed by the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF),[34] though the Queensland provincial government rejected a funding request in November 2017. The biggest reason for Australia to reconsider its tight relationship with coal is its Paris commitments. [1][2] The development was initially intended to represent an A$16.5 billion investment; however, Adani announced in 2018 that the mining operation would be downsized and self-funded to A$2bn.[3][4]. Juukan Gorge inquiry asks Western Australia miners to suspend projects linked to heritage sites, Australia’s IGO to buy minority stake in Greenbushes lithium mine, Opec agreement to tentatively raise oil output fails to mask group divisions. Adani Mining PTY LTD were the second respondents in the case. During the elections Modi promised to bring back black money stashed in Swiss banks within 100 days of coming into power. The development was initially intended to represent an A$16.5 billion investment; however, Adani announced in 2018 that the mining operation would be downsized and self-funded to A$2bn. [100] The Group was represented by the Environmental Defenders Office of NSW. If built, Adani’s Carmichael mine will: Destroy the ancestral lands, waters and cultures of Indigenous people without their consent. To put this in perspective Queensland overall produces more than 95.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year. [42], In 2015, Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced federal approval for the project stating it would contribute $930 million to the Mackay region's GDP and $2.97 billion to the Queensland economy each year for the next 60 years. The Goonyella Riverside open-pit coal mine, located in the Bowen Basin, is Australia’s third-biggest mine. The project, known as the Carmichael mine, is controlled by the Adani Group, an Indian corporate behemoth headed by billionaire Gautam Adani. [81], The 2015–16 Federal Budget outlined the $5 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility "to provide large concessional loans for the construction of ports, pipelines, electricity and water infrastructure that will open our northern frontier for business. [11].mw-parser-output .toclimit-2 .toclevel-1 ul,.mw-parser-output .toclimit-3 .toclevel-2 ul,.mw-parser-output .toclimit-4 .toclevel-3 ul,.mw-parser-output .toclimit-5 .toclevel-4 ul,.mw-parser-output .toclimit-6 .toclevel-5 ul,.mw-parser-output .toclimit-7 .toclevel-6 ul{display:none}, The mining lease mostly covers the Moray Downs cattle station. [38], The news raised criticism due to the lack of transparency in the process, the councils' decision to invest in infrastructure outside its jurisdictions and the ownership of the new asset, which despite councils' financing may not be public. [29], The Carmichael River runs through the middle of the mine site. In November 2013 Morgan Stanley valued the mine at $0 and said "the company does not plan to spend money on developing the mine until coal prices rise from current levels". [28] The mine will take a total of 297 billion litres of water from underground aquifers. Japan remains Australia's largest destination for thermal coal exports, accounting for around 40 per cent in 2018, although its share has declined from around half of thermal coal … [24], In July 2020 Adani commenced the first stages of the box cut process, and construction remains on track for first coal in 2021. [31] This 388 kilometres (241 mi) standard-gauge rail line would provide capacity of 100 million tonnes of coal per year, increasing access to the Galilee Basin. [60] In April 2017, Westpac announced it would not fund the project. [105], The Department is currently reassessing the proposal.[22]. From 2015 onward, the Queensland and Australian Governments have proposed various forms of assistance to the project despite the G20 commitment to phase out "inefficient" fossil fuel subsidies. [47] In Queensland's Land Court, Adani's expert witness, economist Jerome Fahrer from ACIL Allen consulting, rejected the 10,000 figure, saying the project would create less than 1,500 jobs. [121] Then Prime Minister Tony Abbott urged the business community to get behind these changes, saying "if the Adani mine does not go ahead soon, we are crazy. [117] The water trigger was added to the EPBC Act in 2013, after being introduced by then Federal New England MP Tony Windsor. The case involved three main contentions:[101], The Federal Court set aside the approval on the latter ground. THEY say big things come in small packages, and this tiny creature could be the key to derailing the biggest coal mine in Australia. In our eyes, this is the mine of the future"[51], A June 2019 estimate stated the number of ongoing, operational jobs at the mine would be "between 800 and 1,500. "[84] In August 2015 the ousted Abbott government was considering using this fund to ensure the Carmichael rail line is built. Government Ministers criticised the group bringing this case under federal environment law, calling them "vigilante litigants" engaged in economic "sabotage". [21] The Department did not correctly follow requirements under federal environment law to consider conservation advice regarding two endangered species affected by the proposal, the yakka skink and the Ornamental snake. Over the past 25 years, the mine has produced approximately 800,000 ounces of gold each year, and was the biggest gold producer in Australia until Boddington took over in 2012. As of 2015[update] the Department was reconsidering the proposal. In 2016 the Wangan and Jagalingou people voted 294 to 1 in favour of a Indigenous Land Use Agreement with Adani. Goonyella commenced operations in 1971, while the adjoining Riverside was brought into production in 1982, before both mines were merged into a single operation in 1989. Deciding on the approval for the mine, The President of the Land Court of Queensland stated, "there will be no increase of greenhouse gas emissions if the Carmichael mine is approved. [45] The company took out a television advertisement during the 2015 Queensland election including this claim. [44], The revised 10 million tonnes of coal per annum Carmichael mine will produce 240,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. The Carmichael coal mine is 10 million-tonne per annum thermal coal mine in the north of the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland, Australia owned by Adani Mining. Future production is expected from Honeymoon Uranium Mine and the planned Four Mile Uranium Mine. [19] As of 2015[update], the Palaszczuk Queensland Government proposed to dump dredge spoil on land within the terminal site. [6] The proposal includes a new 189-kilometre (117 mi) rail line to connect with the existing Goonyella railway line. This followed competition to host the expected 2,000 jobs derived from the project construction stage. The Blackwater mine (28,135 tonnes) was second, with another Moranbah mine – Goonyella Riverside – third with 22,336 tonnes. When Modi was campaigning for India’s Prime Ministerial candidate, around the same time India has seen one of the biggest anti corruption movements. "During the 2015 Queensland election, the Labor Opposition promised not to fund the rail project linking the mine to the port. Australia is the world's biggest exporter of coal — and the third-largest exporter of fossil fuels, overall, Citi confirmed that by 2025, it will cut its credit exposure to coal-mining companies in half (Credit: Flickr/Beyond Coal & Gas Image Library). [99], In January 2015, the Mackay Conservation Group, based in Mackay, challenged the July 2013 federal approval of the Carmichael project by Greg Hunt, Environment Minister, under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. [35] In September 2018, Adani announced that it had abandoned plans to build the standard gauge line in favor of constructing a 200 kilometres (120 mi) 1,067mm line to a connection with existing narrow-gauge trackage. But I sure as hell am concerned they are protected. [17] It is required to return only 6% of this water in the first five years. However there are other ways of considering bigness. Beyond the mine boundary, Adani's groundwater model predicts water table levels to drop "typically between 20 and 50m" and "up to around 4m in the vicinity of the [Carmichael] river". Adani notified the government that the act was a controlled act but the government decided that it was not a controlled activity under the EPBC Act and that no environmental impact assessment (EIS) was needed for it to proceed. The Saraji open-pit coal mine is yet another deposit located in the Bowen Basin and is the world’s 10th-biggest by recoverable coal reserves. [71], As of 2017[update] Australia's mining industry put "well over half a billion dollars into lobby groups that push coal and fossil fuels" .[72]. North Antelope Rochelle, US – 1.7 billion tonnes. The Super Pit gold mine is another major mine in Australia. "[37], In October 2017, Adani announced that Rockhampton and Townsville will both be used as bases for the expected labour, on a fly-in fly-out basis. [33], Queensland freight rail operator Aurizon had separate plans to develop narrow-gauge rail lines in the Galilee Basin to serve what it described as "several" entities planning mines in the area, including Carmichael, but with no firm agreements close to complete it withdrew a loan request from the NAIF in February 2018. The open-pit mine was approved by the Queensland Government and the federal Australian governments. There have been a number of legal challenges to the project. Yancoal Australia Ltd (Yancoal) produces approximately 15.5 million tonnes of saleable (equity basis) thermal and metallurgical coal per annum for export into international markets. Big emitting companies should be … [111][112], The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), represented by Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO), lodged a judicial review challenge in the Federal Court of the Federal Environment Minister's decision to not apply appropriate legislation regarding water. The three largest uranium mines in the country are Olympic Dam, Ranger Uranium Mine and Beverley Uranium Mine. Yancoal Australia Limited is one of Australia’s largest and leading coal miners. [50] In 2016, the CEO of Mine Operations, JJ Jakanaraj stated "We will be utilizing at least 45, 400-tonne driverless trucks. ", "Galilee Coal Basin:Carmichael – A Stranded Asset? The open-pit mine has been producing high-quality hard coking coal since 1972 and was estimated to hold 718Mt of recoverable coal reserves last year. Its annual coal production is more than 18Mt and has an estimated reserve life of 35 years. [53] This was rejected by the bank's Chairman. [9] The issue had previously been highlighted by environmental groups such as Lock the Gate Alliance. [114][115], Under the amendments to the EPBC Act the Minister must obtain advice from an Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development[116] if an activity is likely to have a significant impact on water resources or impact on a protected ecological communities, species (such as the black-throated finch, world heritage sites, national heritage sites or protected wetlands. [78] [26], As of 2014[update] the mine planned to contain six open-cut pits and five underground mines. Modi watching Australian Prime Minister shaking hands on Adani’s coal mine. [88], In April 2019 Bob Brown led a convoy of vehicles to protest against the proposed coal mine. [3] Road access is made by the Gregory Developmental Road, an undeveloped section of the Gregory Highway. Loy Yang mines a very thick seam of coal as can be seen in the image below. But as the world races to solve the climate crisis, mining giant Adani are trying to build the biggest coal mine in Australia's history in central Queensland. Australia's coal export destinations have evolved over the past decade as market demand has shifted. Coal production in Australia increased 13.6% between 2005 and 2010 and 5.3% between 2009 and 2010. The coal produced by the Carmichael mine is high quality thermal coal, with a product specification of 5600Kcal and 11% ash, well above typical Indian or Indonesian coal, which has a weighted average value of 4,301–4,600 kcal/kg. The open-pit mine was approved by the Queensland Government and the federal Australian governments. They contended: The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) made a judicial review challenge under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) which was dismissed in 2016, followed by an appeal to the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia. This mine produces uranium, silver and copper and is considered as the largest resource of uranium in the world. [59] In September 2015, National Australia Bank announced it would not fund the project. About 70% of coal mined in Australia is exported, mostly to eastern Asia, and of the balance most is used in electricity generation. ", This page was last edited on 8 December 2020, at 19:27. [16], In July 2014, federal Minister for Environment, Greg Hunt, approved the mine to proceed after 36 conditions were stipulated. Peak Downs is currently Australia’s biggest coal mine (Credit: Flickr/Beyond Coal & Gas Image Library) It has been owned and operated by Australia’s biggest coal producer and exporter BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), a joint venture between BHP Billiton and Mitsubishi since 2001. Someone has to lose. [63], Analysts have doubt the mine is viable given seaborne (imported) thermal coal prices and market trends. The lower rank brown coal is sometimes known as lignite. Therefore, the water trigger should be applied.". Queensland Mining and Energy Bulletin (April 2019): Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, Environmental Defenders Office Queensland, "Adani on track for first Carmichael mine coal exports in 2021", "Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project: Project Overview", "Adani's new mini version of its mega mine still faces some big hurdles", "Mineral Resources (Galilee Basin) Amendment Bill 2018", "Rural electrification in India: Galilee Basin coal versus decentralised renewable energy micro grids", "Largest coal mine in Australia: federal government gives Carmichael go-ahead", "Adani faces new hurdle over huge water plan in drought-ravaged Queensland", "Bau Australien: Greta Thunberg fordert Siemens zur Aufgabe von Kohle-Projekt auf", "Adani coalmine: Siemens CEO has 'empathy' for environment but refuses to quit contract", "Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project declared 'significant project, "Adani Mining Pty Ltd – Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project – Initial Advice Statement, 22 October 2010", "Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project SEIS Volume 2 – Mine Studies", "Coordinator-General decides on Galilee Mine", "Carmichael coal mine means more jobs, less water for Queensland", "Abbott Point dredge dumping plans on the rocks", "Abbot Point port developers to ditch Great Barrier Reef seabed dumping pla", "$16 billion Carmichael coal mine approval set aside over 'technical matter, "Coalition will take six to eight weeks to revise its Carmichael coalmine approval", "Adani suspends two Australian coal project contractors: Report – Business Today", "Adani starts construction at Carmichael project", "Wangan and Jagalingou – Standing Our Ground", "Strictest conditions on Carmichael Coal Mine project", "Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project SEIS- Report for Water Balance", "Adani, POSCO E&C sign pact to develop rail line in Australia", "Adani scales back Carmichael rail link plans", "$5 Billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Cash For Mines", "Setback for Adani as Aurizon withdraws loan request for rail line", "Climate activists target Siemens over Australia coal project", "Germany's Siemens to fulfill Australia coal mine contract", "Carmichael mine FIFO workforce to come from Townsville, Rockhampton", "Queensland councils to pay at least $31m for Adani coalmine airstrip", "Queensland councils say they won't own Adani airport despite paying $34m", "$18.5 million proposed for Carmichael Airstrip will be used for shovel ready projects", "JOINT REPORT to the Land Court of Queensland on "Climate Change – Emissions", (2015) Adani Mining Pty Ltd (Adani) v Land Services of Coast and Country Inc & Ors", "Complaint lodged with ASX over Adani job claims for Carmichael mine", "PM:Stopping Adani mine 'bad for the country, "Adani Carmichael mine to create 1464 jobs, not 10,000", "Fact check: Will Adani's coal mine really boost employment by 10,000 jobs? But Adani reduced that ambition to building a 10Mt-15Mt-a-year mine, with the potential of increasing production to 27Mt — making it the biggest in Australia. [86] This includes gases produced during the mining process and from emissions created from the mining and transportation of the coal. Adani spokespeople said statements from banks they have not approached have "no bearing" on the project. Coast and Country, represented by Environmental Defenders Office Queensland, brought a case to the Queensland Land Court. [43] In court, Adani said the lifetime output of the mine would be 2.3 billion tonnes of coal.[44]. Night work at the Carmichael Mine, September 2020. [80] in September 2015 Premier Palaszczuk said she was "absolutely committed" to the project going ahead and called for federal funding for the rail line. On 11 January 2020 Thunberg called on the German company Siemens to stop the delivery of railway equipment for the mine,[10] but two days later Siemens said that it would continue to honour its contract with Adani. [119], On 16 March 2020, the ACF once again lodged papers in court to take action against the government. We use them to give you the best experience. However, by June 2019, the costs of solar power generation in India had decreased to the point that government subsidies might be required to make coal powered generation in India economically feasible. The Olive Downs coal project will be Queensland's third-largest coal mine. [43] He claimed the 4 billion tonnes of coal resource extracted over its lifetime would be worth $300 billion. [65] Seaborne thermal coal prices (Newcastle benchmark) have dropped from highs of around US$140/t in 2012 to around US$60/t in 2015 due to increases in production and reduction in seaborne coal demand. [66], In September 2015, UBS said in a briefing note "no new coal mines needed on 5+ year view" and projected prices recovering to $88/t by 2019—still below the required price for Carmichael. [91] The mine will also use groundwater that flows to the surface during the process of "dewatering" the open cut pits and underground mines. [35], In January 2020, in response to protests in Berlin by Extinction Rebellion, Siemens announced it would re-evaluate its $20m contract to supply signaling systems for the rail link,[36] but decided to continue with the contract saying there was "practically no legally and economically responsible way to unwind the contract without neglecting fiduciary duties. An Indian billionaire is forging ahead with a massive coal mine in Australia that activists say will be a disaster for the environment. Treasurer Jeff Seeney argued "The Queensland government, like governments across the world, have always provided some major incentives and the incentive we have decided to provide relates to infrastructure rather than the traditional handing out of grants. [64] In November 2014 Daniel Morgan, global commodities analyst at investment bank UBS, said that a price of about $100–$110 a tonne was required to cover costs and return on capital. In 2014, Adani signed an agreement with South Korean construction company POSCO to develop the North Galilee Basin Rail Project. [73] Queensland Government budget papers show spending of $9.5 billion between 2008 and 2014 assisting the mining industry. [57], Large coal projects in Australia typically engage with one or more of the ‘big four’ Australian banks in arranging or providing debt. Although coal mines are largely on the decline as the world attempts to clean up its economy, Australia continues to place a heavy reliance on the industry. 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