Coal Kills

The mining, transport, and burning of coal kills people. The world is moving on from this dangerous dirty fuel.

Coal is the biggest single cause of air pollution in Australia, contributing to 3,000 deaths every year.

In 2016 an accident at an Adani power station saw 7 workers killed when a hot water pipeline burst, meanwhile at least 19 Australian mine workers have been diagnosed with the deadly ‘Black Lung’ disease.

Coal pollution is the biggest driver of climate change.

Coal is killing us and our planet. Pollution from burning coal is the single biggest contributor to dangerous global warming, threatening our way of life. Coal mining drains and pollutes our water supplies, harms our health and destroys our natural landscape.

Air pollution kills an estimated 3 million people globally each year,1 with the burning of coal a key contributor.2 Here in Australia, the mining and burning of coal is the single largest source of air pollution.3   

Every year approximately 3,000 Australians die from air pollution4, over twice the annual road toll.

Coal contributes to many more deaths by fuelling dangerous global warming which has seen increased and more intense droughts, bushfires, heatwaves and floods5 threatening people’s lives and livelihoods here and overseas.

Dust from coal mines, trains and ports infiltrates the lungs of coal workers causing respiratory diseases such as black lung. Coal dust pollutes the air of local communities, where higher rates of heart and lung disease, high blood pressure and kidney disease have been found compared to people living other areas6. In Australia, ‘black lung’ disease7 has recently re-emerged among miners, with at least nineteen workers identified with the debilitating condition.8

Coal-fired power stations emit sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxides, mercury and particulates which enter the bloodstream and contribute to asthma, lung cancer, heart disease and strokes9.

Globally, the coal industry still regularly records mining accidents and fatalities. Adani coal companies have claimed serious injuries and deaths in India. In 2016, 21 workers suffered horrendous burns at Adani’s coal-fired power station in Gujarat when a hot water pipe burst, seven of whom later died from their injuries.10

Coal is not safe. It is killing workers, communities, and our planet. Meanwhile, the world is moving beyond coal as countries transition to safer, healthier, and now cheaper ways of making renewable electricity from the sun and wind.


  1. International Energy Agency (2016) Energy and Air Pollution. World Energy Outlook Special Report.
  2. World Health Organization (2016) Ambient air pollution: A global assessment of exposure and burden of disease. World Health Organization
  3. As above at [1].
  4. Begg, Vos, Barker, Stevenson, Stanley & Lopez, The burden of disease and injury in Australia 2003, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Cat. no. PHE 82, Canberra (2007), p234, available at
  5. World Health Organisation, Climate change and health, June 2016

  6. Lockwood AH, Welker-Hood K, Rauch M & Gottlieb B (2009) Coal’s assault on human health. Physicians for Social Responsibility.
  7. Coal worker's pneumoconiosis
  8. At least 22 cases of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP) have been identified an Queensland and cases are also appearing in NSW.
  9. Lockwood AH, Welker-Hood K, Rauch M & Gottlieb B (2009) Coal’s assault on human health. Physicians for Social Responsibility.
  10. The Hindu, 7 people died in an accident in Adani power plant on April 20th, 28 April 2016.
Can't Trust Adani

From allegations of offshore tax dodging to inflated jobs claims and corruption, Adani has a history of shonky behaviour that has wrecked communities and the environment.

Adani chartered a ship that saw a serious coal and oil spill off Mumbai’s coast, damaging tourism, polluting the marine environment and attracting an AU$975,000 court fine.

Adani companies are under investigation for corruption, fraud, money laundering and tax evasion in India. A number of Adani subsidiaries registered in Australia are ultimately owned by entities registered in the infamous Cayman Island and British Virgin Islands tax havens.

In an Australian court, Adani was shown to have misled the public about the amount of royalties and jobs the mine would generate, while its Australian CEO boasts to the business press “everything will be autonomous from mine to port”11.

Adani Group companies have an appalling record of environmental destruction and prosecutions overseas, including illegal dealings, bribery, environmental and social devastation and allegations of corruption, fraud and money laundering12.

Some of the shocking examples:

  • Adani’s chartered coal ship sank and polluted Indian waters with coal and oil, creating fear about what Australia could face if Adani ships coal through the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Adani’s Munda power plant development failed to comply with environmental regulation and development permits causing environmental destruction and harm to local communities.
  • An Adani company illegally undertook work to construct a port in Hazira, blocking 80 fishing families’ access to their traditional fishing zones and destroying habitat, attracting an AU$4.8 million fine for compensation and restoration.

Adani has already brought their disregard for the environment, communities and regulation to Australia.

For example, Adani Mining failed to reveal to the Federal Environment Department that its Australian CEO was in charge of a Zambian copper mine when it polluted a major river in 2010, despite a specific request for information about the environmental history of Adani’s executive officers13.

Adani has also been caught misleading the public about the number of jobs and the amount of royalties its Australian project will create, following admissions from its own expert in court14.

The Adani Group is a complex corporate web that includes nine Australian Adani companies owned through an entity in the Cayman Islands tax haven. This is a significant risk, especially if these companies were to receive money from Australian taxpayers which needed to be recovered from Adani if the company or project ultimately failed15.

Adani is not a corporation we can trust to look after our local communities, precious water, the Great Barrier Reef or taxpayers’ money.


Wrecks Our Climate

Right when we need to cut pollution, burning more coal will lead to more extreme weather and further bleaching of the Reef.

Burning the coal from Adani’s mine would cancel out any good achieved from Australia's already weak goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions between 2020 and 203016.

Heatwaves are Australia’s number one killer of all natural disasters17, with bushfires, droughts, floods, heatwaves and other extreme weather events becoming more frequent and intense as a result of climate change.

Burning the coal from Adani’s mine will drive dangerous climate change which scientists say will kill large tracts of the Great Barrier Reef within 20 years18.

At the very time the world has agreed to reduce carbon emissions to stop catastrophic global warming, Australian governments are eagerly pursuing Adani’s massive new coal mine. Approving the Adani project and its rail and port infrastructure would open up the entire Galilee Basin to up to 9 additional new mines of the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel.

Adani’s mine won’t just be the biggest coal mine in Australia, it will be the biggest new coal mine in the world, more than five times the area of Sydney Harbour19.

When we need to urgently reduce carbon pollution, this mine takes us in the completely wrong direction.

The Great Barrier Reef has already experienced devastating coral bleaching from rising sea temperatures as a result of global warming. If current climate trends continue, scientists estimate that in less than twenty years, coral on the Great Barrier Reef will experience serious bleaching every second year20. The Great Barrier Reef, now teeming with life, will become a graveyard in decades21. Burning the coal from Adani’s mine will help lock-in this tragic fate for one of the world’s natural wonders.

Climate change will also be accelerated by the land clearing required to build the mine. In total, 20,200 hectares of land, equivalent to over 28,000 soccer fields or 200,000 quarter-acre blocks, would be cleared. Over half of the land that would be cleared is mature woodland and bushland - important habitat for many animals including threatened species such as koalas and echidnas and endangered birds22.

Major heatwaves are a serious health threat, causing more deaths in Australia since 1890 than bushfires, cyclones, earthquakes, floods and severe storms combined23. Longer, hotter and more intense heatwaves in Australia are being driven by climate change. Research has found that the number of deaths in summer compared to those in winter is increasing, suggesting that climate change may already be affecting mortality rates24. Adani’s mine will only make this situation worse.

We are already experiencing the consequences of polluting our air and water and the dangers of the climate changing around us. We must immediately make the transition from polluting coal, oil and gas to 100% renewable energy to stop greenhouse gas emissions reaching even more dangerous levels. The first step is stopping Australia’s biggest coal mine proposal before it gets started.


16. Australia’s 2014 emissions were 523 MtCO2-e,
Australia’s Emissions Target in 2030 is 440–452 MtCO2-e
17. Coates L, Haynes K, O’Brien J, McAneney J and de Oliveira FD. 2014. Exploring 167 years of vulnerability: an examination of extreme heat events in Australia 1844–2010. Environmental Science & Policy. 42:33-44.
18. Sky News, Great Barrier Reef 'may be dead in 20 years, Wednesday, 8 February 2017.
19. Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) encompasses approximately 5,500 hectares.
20. CoECSS (ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science) (2016) Extreme coral bleaching may be new normal by 2034
21. Sky News (2017) Great Barrier Reef 'may be dead in 20 years'  Wednesday, 8 February 2017
22. Adani Mining Pty Ltd (2013) Report for Updated Mine Ecology, Appendix J1, Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project SEIS.
23. Coates L, Haynes K, O’Brien J, McAneney J and de Oliveira FD. 2014. Exploring 167 years of vulnerability: an examination of extreme heat events in Australia 1844–2010. Environmental Science & Policy. 42:33-44.
24. Bennett CM, Dear KBG and McMichael AJ (2013) Shifts in the seasonal distribution of deaths in Australia, 1968-2007. International Journal of Biometeorology, 58: 835-842.
Robs Our Water

Adani will draw billions of litres of water from the Great Artesian and other precious basins, for free, threatening farmers and groundwater.

The scale of Adani’s mine, and the other nine mines proposed for the Galilee Basin, will have enormous and irreversible impacts on Queensland’s groundwater resources and risk the pollution of local rivers.

Adani’s mine will extract billions of litres of groundwater each year, causing irreversible damage to groundwater systems and producing a permanent drop in the water table around the mine site.

Adani’s mine will drain water from the rare Doongmabulla25 and Mellaluka springs - both ecologically significant, being over one million years old and supporting native flora and fauna26.

Adani will not be charged a cent for the water they will consume, while the Queensland government has stripped farmers of their rights to appeal against Adani taking their groundwater.

Billions of litres of our precious water will be sucked from groundwater systems and Queensland’s inland rivers over the life of Adani’s mine.

The water-hungry mine will result in up to 9,500 million litres of groundwater draining into the vast coal pits and underground mines each year27. Governments have bent over backwards to make sure Adani gets our groundwater, for free, including by stripping farmers of their rights to appeal against Adani taking their groundwater28.

Groundwater systems will be permanently changed and the water table will drop, robbing local farmers and potentially draining water from the rare and ancient Doongmabulla and Mellaluka springs29 which support native plants and animals30.

Water will be drawn from aquifers to allow Adani to dig deep for coal. This water will be sprayed onto the mine to try contain billowing clouds of coal dust this project will generate. It will also be used to wash the coal in preparation for export.

And this is just the beginning. Adani’s rail line paves the way for nine mines in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. Together these mines create even greater risks for Queensland’s water resources. They will also release unwanted waste water from mine operations, such as coal washing, into local waterways, creating a real threat of pollution from heavy metals and other toxins.

Ultimately our precious water that has taken millions of years to accumulate will either evaporate or sit in polluted pools around the mine sites, squandered on mines that we do not need and stolen from long term industries like agriculture.

The mine also puts our river systems and downstream farmers who rely on river flows at risk. The mine will extract up to 12,000 million litres of water a year from Queensland waterways, diverting up to 720 billion litres away from creeks and rivers over the life of the mine31.

The proposed Galilee mines create a real risk that the already drought ravaged state of Queensland will have less water for farmers, damaging their capacity to grow food and animal feed.

Once this water is gone it cannot be restored - even after Adani has closed the mine for good and gone home. The costs will be borne by our children and grandchildren.


25. Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Doongmabaulla Springs DIWA nationally important wetland, available at:
26. Expert Report on groundwater impacts to the Land Court by Dr John Webb as part of proceedings in Land Services of Coast and Country Inc & Ors. v Adani Mining Pty Ltd (2015). Available at:
27. Calculated based on 26ML/day inflows into open cut and underground mines in year 2029. Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project SEIS (Nov 2013) Mine Hydrogeology Report, Appendix K1.
28. Environmental Defenders Office Queensland, Qld Labor exempts Adani mine from public submission and appeals on groundwater, 9 November 2016
29. Expert Report on groundwater impacts to the Land Court by Dr John Webb as part of proceedings in Land Services of Coast and Country Inc & Ors. v Adani Mining Pty Ltd (2015). Available at:
30. Environmental Defenders Office Queensland, Land Court delivers Adani Carmichael coal mine recommendation, 15 December 2015
31. Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project SEIS (Nov 2013), Updated Mine Project Description, Appendix B, P. 82
Trashes Indigenous Rights

Adani’s mine, rail and port project will destroy the ancestral lands, waters and cultures of Indigenous peoples in the region. And Adani does not have the consent of the local Wangan and Jagalingou people.

Adani have actively worked to divide the Wangan and Jagalingou people to claim they consent to the mine32.

The W&J have rejected a land deal with Adani four times since 2012 and have two court challenges underway, yet Adani is pushing on with their plans33.

State and federal governments have done Adani’s bidding and rammed through changes to both native title and water laws to ensure their mine goes ahead, in the face of Indigenous opposition to the mine.

Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners are fighting to defend their lands and culture from Adani and the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments. They pledge to do whatever it takes to preserve their culture, but they can’t do it alone.

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The Wangan and Jagalingou people, Traditional Owners of the land on which Adani wants to build their mine, have said ‘no’. W&J are fighting Adani because of the massive, irreversible damage the mine will have on their land, water and culture. The W&J have said they will not sign away their land rights in a phoney land use agreement, and have asked people around the world to stand with them in their struggle34.

The W&J have exposed Adani for using its power and money to divide their community, employing dubious conduct to claim approval. W&J have provided evidence in court that Adani engineered sham meetings, stacked with people who are not part of their claim group and who have no authority to make decisions, to give a veneer of consent.

Adani and the mining lobby has pushed the Queensland and Federal governments to rush through changes to national native title laws and amend state water laws so Adani’s mine goes ahead, despite local opposition.

The W&J are challenging Adani’s project in the Australian courts and have taken their cause to the United Nations. They are also demanding that Australian and international banks do not back the project.

The impacts of the mine project extend beyond W&J land to Juru, Jaanga and Birri country. Juru cultural sites, including rock art and burial sites, are at risk from Adani’s proposed rail and port and Juru elders are working to protect their sacred heritage from destruction35. Birri people have expressed concerns about proposed water sources for Adani’s mine, such as the Urannah Dam, and its impact on their water and cultural heritage36.

Adani knows it cannot build their mine without the consent of Traditional Owners. The W&J have vowed to continue fighting the proposed mine until Adani is gone and their land and rights are no longer under threat.


33. Wangan and Jagalingou media release, "W&J claimants again vote down Adani deal, seek injunction," 
34. Wangan and Jagalingou website, Our fight.