SYDNEY, March 16 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Australians
will "fight tooth and nail" against an Indian company's plan to
build one of the world's biggest coal mines in Australia, said a
delegation of businessmen and conservationists heading to India
to demand clean energy from Adani Enterprises.
The group plans to hand deliver a letter to Adani founder
Gautam Adani signed by more than 80 business leaders, sporting
figures, authors, musicians and scientists, economists and
Names include cricketers Ian and Greg Chappell, singer
Missy Higgins, author Tim Winton, and Midnight Oil musician and
former parliamentarian Peter Garrett.
The delegation led by business and community leader Geoff
Cousins has scheduled the trip to coincide with a visit by
officials from the Australian state of Queensland where Adani
has embarked on the $16 billion Carmichael project.
"We are in India to tell Adani that Australians do not want
this coal mine and will continue to fight it tooth and nail,"
"Coal is a dirty, dying industry and polls show the majority
of Australians are appalled that Adani is getting a A$1 billion
($770 million) handout of public money to finance a project
banks won't touch. We would welcome Adani's investment in solar
Adani officials were not immediately available for comment.
Adani has secured the major state and federal government
approvals it needs for Carmichael and in December said it would
aim to begin construction of the mine in mid-2017.
Calls and emails requesting comment from Queensland
officials on the delegation and letter of opposition being
delivered to Adani were not answered.
Since Adani launched preliminary works six years ago, the
company has battled fierce opposition from green groups who say
the project will contribute to global warning.
Environmentalists have successfully lobbied banks not to
provide loans and some, including Germany's Deutsche Bank and
Commonwealth Bank of Australia, have stated they will not
participate in the project.
Whitsunday tourism operator, Lindsay Simpson, said her
business had already been affected by global warming that was
killing the coral on the Great Barrier Reef and feared a new
coal mine in Queensland would damage it further.
"Queensland's tourism industry can't afford to stand by
silently and allow projects like Adani's Carmichael mine put our
livelihoods and future at risk," Simpson said.
Adani has said the project, comprising six open-cut pits and
five underground collieries, would not threaten the reef, and
create thousand of jobs while providing India with cleaner
burning coal only found in Australia.
Queensland farmer Bruce Currie said the project would affect
groundwater if Adani's plans to build new rail infrastructure go
ahead, paving the way for further coal mines.
"Agriculture is key to the nation's economy and my farming
business is 100 per cent dependent on groundwater," he said.
($1 = 1.3026 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Paola Totaro, Editing by Katie Nguyen and Belinda
Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the
charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian
news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate
change. Visit news.trust.org)