The protests against the Adani Group’s Australian coal-mine project, on Thursday, spilled over from Queensland to Ahmedabad.
An Australian group of green activists delivered an “open letter” to the office of Gautam Adani here to tell him: “We want solar, but not your coal mine,” referring to the A$16.5-billion Carmichael coal project to be developed there by the Indian billionaire.
They urged Adani, who is attempting to develop the project in the untapped Galilee Basin in Central Queensland, Australia, to abandon the plan which involves a 60-million-tonne per annum coal mining plant, a 388-km rail line, and construction of an export terminal at the Abbot Point coal port.
Although the Australian authorities have given the go ahead — the Queensland Premier and six regional mayors are currently visiting India to promote it — the project has been dogged by controversy from the start. Aboriginal landowners and environmentalists are concerned about the project’s impact on groundwater and on climate change due to the burning of coal.
In addition, its effect on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area has made the project “highly controversial”.
Activists claim that over two million people have expressed their opposition and 13 global banks have ruled out providing funding for the project.
As part of this campaign,90 prominent Australians, including former cricket captains Ian and Greg Chappell, and top businessmen, signed the ‘open letter’ along with well-known musicians, artists, journalists, novelists, stakeholders and business leaders.
The letter was handed over by the leader of the activist delegation,Geoff Cousins,the president of the Australian Conservation Foundation.
“We could have mailed the letter, but we wanted to make a direct contact with the executive,” Cousins told BusinessLine .
Reacting to the development, an Adani Group spokesman said that Cousins’ legal challenge has been dismissed by the Australian courts.“We categorically reject such motivated letters of representation by a very small group of misled people. The proposed mine in Australia has been cleared after rigorous assessments and strict conditions.” He said the proposed mine is supported fully by the people of Queensland and their elected representatives who in turn represent millions of Australians.
A national opinion poll found that almost two-thirds of Australians would prefer that Adani invest in large-scale solar energy projects rather than a new coal mine in Australia. The green activists’ delegation will meet politicians, business representatives and civil society leaders.