Adani exports coal opening Australia’s Galilee Basin: the fight from here
Almost eight years later, Adani is finally preparing to load its first coal train at the Carmichael coal mine, opening the biggest new coal basin on the planet, and exporting coal through the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
Adani bought the rights to mine coal on Wangan and Jagalingou land in 2010, and planned to open Australia’s biggest ever coal mine in 2014.
Almost eight years later, Adani is finally loading its first coal train at the Carmichael coal mine, opening the biggest new coal basin on the planet, and exporting coal through the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
But it hasn’t gone to plan for Adani - in fact, it has been a slow and expensive mess, with years and billions of dollars still to go.
For the last 97 days, Wangan and Jagalingou people have been leading a cultural ceremony on the mining lease, and are calling on Adani to stop destroying their land and cultural heritage.
If Adani’s mine had gone to plan, by the end of 2021, the company would have shipped 219 million tonnes of coal from the mine. When this is burnt it would have released 408 million tonnes of CO2 - more than all of Australia emitted from burning fossil fuels in 2020.
This has been a David and Goliath battle: Wangan and Jagalingou people and a community movement against The Adani Group, a global corporate giant now worth AUD$230 billion dollars. As we have challenged Adani’s Carmichael mine, we sought to win a bigger battle for climate action and to keep billions of tonnes of coal in the ground.
In the #StopAdani fight, we have
- Stood with Wangan and Jagalingou people who continue to fight for their rights and land;
- Stopped at least AUD$3 billion in taxpayer funded loans, a $1 billion from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), a $1 billion loan from Chinese government owned banks and a $1 billion loan from the State Bank of India;
- Pushed over 100 major companies to rule out any involvement with the Carmichael project including the world’s biggest banks ruling out financing and 40 global insurance companies refusing to underwrite the project;
- Exposed Adani’s dodgy track record of environmental and human rights abuses across the world, and sought to hold them accountable; and
- Built a powerful movement of over one million Australians who are standing up to the coal industry and calling for a cleaner future.
Adani’s Carmichael project today looks nothing like they planned - thanks to years of effort from so many people. What was planned as a $26.5 billion project, Adani now bills as a $2 billion project. What was to be funded by taxpayers and banks, has been funded by Adani Group parent companies. For a mine that was planned to operate for 90 years, now Adani says it will operate for just 24 years.
The Carmichael mine remains a huge financial risk for The Adani Group. Almost every week companies continue to walk away from Adani’s mine citing insurmountable reputational risks if they continue their involvement. If Adani’s biggest investors walk away, then Adani could be forced to walk away from Carmichael for good.
So, where do we go from here? Well, that’s up to us.
This year, Adani hopes to export a trickle of coal. It’s up to us whether we stop that trickle from becoming a flood of coal.
The rest of the fossil fuel industry will be watching this moment closely. They’re waiting to see if they can get away with opening new fossil fuel basins and projects.
But the science of climate change is clear: to stay below 1.5 degrees of warming, we cannot open new coal mines. The 27 billions tonnes of coal in the Galilee Basin must stay safely in the ground. Our future can’t afford Adani’s mine: we must keep up the fight.
We’re ready to keep fighting alongside the powerful Wangan and Jagalingou leaders who’ve pledged to continue their resistance in the face of cultural heritage destruction, and show Adani’s biggest investors like BlackRock that we won’t let up until they rule out any further investment in The Adani Group.
Mining and burning coal is the biggest single cause of climate change. It also presents the simplest solution: keep coal in the ground. We’ve got a long fight ahead of us, and we need everyone with us: are you in?