The Adani group has finally received a green signal after almost a decade for its mining project in Australia. The company received the final approval on 13 May 2019. They won their last two environmental approvals to commence the ₹10,000 crores mining project. The process of initiating the project was stagnated due to rising environmental concerns, multiple lawsuits and local political conflicts.
Carmichael coal mine project
Mr Gautam Adani led Adani Group’s Carmichael coal project is located in a remote area in North Galilee Basin, Australia. It spreads across 2, 50,000 square kilometres. The project has the potential of increasing Australian coal exports by more than double. Adani Group had been working to receive approvals for the Carmichael mine project for almost a decade. However, the group successfully cleared the pending two approvals for initiating the mining project. The approval has cleared the path to extract 10 million tonnes of coal annually.
Adani Group finalized the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Management Plan (GDEMP) and Black-throated Finch management plan which has paved the way for the commencement of the project.
The Carmichael project along with delivering employment will also ensure the safety of their workers. The company will also make sure that it meets all the environmental norms and stand by its management plans. The group has initiated with preliminary activities like mobilizing equipment, finalizing contracts, recruitment, etc.
Australian election impact
The outcome of the recent Federal Election of 2019 in Australia was in favor of Adani enterprises’ project. The Coalition Party’s victory over the Australian Labor party was a good sign for the company. Australia’s Coalition Party is an alliance between the Liberal Party and the National Party of Australia which stands with the Adani’s plan for the coal mine. Opinion polls had indicated the victory of Australian Labor Party. However, the Coalition party returned to power contrary to the result of opinion polls. The Coalition Party has always been in favor of the mining project, contrary to the Labor Party which took a firm stand against it.
The management plans
The management plan for protecting Black-throated Finch. The company had earlier received the approval for their management plan for protecting Black-throated Finch. Black-throated Finch is an endangered bird species which relies on the proposed location of the project for its habitat.
The Department of Environment and Science (DES) had approved Adani’s management plan for the protection of endangered species. DES made sure that the company complied with multiple norms & regulations. DES also ensured Adani’s plan was vigorous and well-planned to achieve the objectives of protecting the endangered species.
The groundwater management plan
The only pending approval which remained was related to the management of a sensitive groundwater source. Adani Group finalized the Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Management Plan (GDEMP) and Black-throated Finch management plan which has paved the way for the commencement of the project.
Future outlook for the project
The company will initiate the constructions for their project including fencing, bridges and roads, water management, setting up railway lines, etc. The Carmichael coal mining project might generate 1,500 direct and around 6,750 indirect employment opportunities, as per the expectations. Rockhampton along with Townsville will be the prime locations for employment during the ramp up & construction of the site. The neighbouring localities including Gladstone, Mackay, Issac, Charters Towers, Whitsunday and Central Highlands will also benefit from employment opportunities.
The on-going protest by locals has dragged down the company’s Capital Expenditure (Capex) down for the Carmichael project. The company initially had planned to mine 60 tonnes of coal annually but shifted its goal to just 10 tonnes amidst rising environment tensions. The company also pared the length of the rail lines and decided to fund the project from their own resources. The decision of self-funding comes amidst a lack of investors and the withdrawal of local government subsidies.
The transportation of coal will be via rail lines to Abbot Point. The rail network along with the construction of mine is estimated to cost the Adani Group $2 billion or around ₹10,000 crores. In the company’s annual report FY18 mentioned, they expect to initiate coal production by the end of FY21 in Australia.