Logistics, Ports & Terminals, Mining and Heavy Industries

Adani mine approval, loan request attacked

A request for a $1 billion federal loan for Indian energy giant Adani to build a rail link for its Carmichael coal mine and rail project in Queensland has drawn harsh criticism from environmental groups.

The $21.7 billion Carmichael coal and rail project secured its final major State and Federal Government approval this week, with an application for the project’s rail line into Abbot Point approved.

The coordinator general on Monday approved the application, along with another application for a temporary construction workers’ camp.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was also in the news saying her Government had secured commitments from Adani that the massive project would be built and operated by Australians, and that no 457 visas would be used.

The mine approval drew the usual criticism from green groups, but Adani has received some extra attention over its request for a $1 billion loan from the Turnbull Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, to help build the over 300 kilometre rail line needed for the project.

Adani has reportedly said the loan is not “critical” for the project to take place, a statement which has only added to criticism over the potential of the government forking out that kind of cash to help build a coal project for a foreign company.

“[To say that] it’s not critical suggests they’re just putting their hand out to see whether they can get anything,” Tom Swann, a researcher from ‘think tank’ The Australia Institute reportedly told the ABC.

“If it’s not critical, why would the taxpayer fund it in the first place.”

Matt Canavan, the federal minister for resources and Northern Australia, has said the Government is assessing the rail project’s eligibility for the loan.

The Australia Institute took out a full page ad in the AFR this week asking six questions of the Turnbull Government over the loan request.

The advertisement asks PM Turnbull whether the Adani mine will pay full coal royalties, whether Adani will pay the full company tax rate in Australia, and whether job figures will be as Adani has said in the past.

“Huge importance is placed on the claimed 10,000 jobs Adani says it will create,” The Australia Institute executive director Ben Oquist said, “yet under oath in court the company admitted only 1400 direct and indirect jobs would be created.

“Even that does not consider the miners’ stated plans to automate the entire project ‘from mine to port’, employing as few people as possible.

“If Malcolm Turnbull is unable answer these questions, he should rule-out handing over taxpayer subsidy to this project,” Oquist concluded.

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