Indian energy giant Adani’s controversy-hit Carmichael coal mine project in Australia may not receive a 900 million dollar loan after the Labour party- led Queensland government said it will exercise its veto to not support the financial assistance. The 16.5 billion dollar Carmichael coal mine project, one of the world’s largest, will start construction after being given the green light by the federal and Queensland state governments.
The Adani group had applied for Northern Australia Infrastructure facility loan (NAIF) worth 900 million dollars for building a train line to connect its mine to the coast. Earlier this month before the election day, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that her Labor party would veto the NAIF loan if it retains the power in the state. However, after reports of conflict of interest emerged, Palaszczuk said her government will exercise its ‘veto’ to not support the NAIF loan to remove doubt about any perception of conflict. “This afternoon I announce that my government has had no role to date in the Federal Government’s assessment process for Adani — now we will have no role in the future,” she said and denied any conflict of interest.
“To action my decision, I propose to write to the Prime Minister to notify him that my government will exercise its ‘veto’ to not support the NAIF loan — and to remove doubt about any perception of conflict,” she was quoted by ‘The Australian’ as saying. Yesterday, media reports said that Labour could form a majority government with Palaszczuk on track to win the necessary 48 seats. A spokesman for the premier was quoted by a media report as saying that it was now up to Adani to ensure the project was financed. “We expect them to get on with it,” he said. Palaszczuk’s team has won 43 seats in the 93 seat parliament and is leading in four of the undecided electorates, which would be enough to form the government. More than 800,000 people voting before election day, according to the Queensland Electoral Commission.
Meanwhile, in a statement released today, Adani said job creation for regional Queensland was well underway across Adani’s mine, rail and port projects. It also announced the next step in its regional employment strategy which would involve Downer Group, the major mine contractors, who will be touring parts of regional Queensland to meet directly with jobseekers at employment fairs over the next several weeks. Adani said it hoped that this regional employment roadshow will help to create a positive outlook for the regions moving forward into 2018.
“As our project continues to move forward, we are excited to bring regional Queensland workers on board to help us start building our mine, rail and port projects,” said Jeyakumar Janakaraj, CEO and Country Head of the Adani group. “Groups hoping to stop us have failed, because we have already started,” he said. The Carmichael project, expected to create hundreds of jobs in Australia, has been facing opposition from environmentalists and indigenous groups.
The Indian energy giant has for more than five years battled the opposition to any expansion of the Abbot Point port, saying it will cut into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The Adani group entered Australia in 2010 with the purchase of the greenfield Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland, and the Abbot Point port near Bowen in the north.