THE Adani coal mine, based in Queensland, has been a much-debated project. Touted to be the largest mine in Australia, it promises much-needed jobs and a major boost to the economy. However, despite the “golden project”, at first, receiving an active nod and backing by the Australian government, with special permissions to set up, there have been constant backlash and criticisms against the project, by environmentalists. This protest has affected the project in multiple ways making it lose financers, buyers; bringing down production scales, increasing restrictions and costs. Yet, the Indian giant still stands with no signs of giving up.
Initially, the national newspapers were flooded with promises and assurances by the Adani mine. But looking at facts, it gradually became evident that while Adani does promise 10,000 new jobs, only 1,464 out of them will be permanent. Because, Adani himself has admitted to the mines being heavily automated.
The subsequent natural degradation too is a matter of concern. It has been predicted that species and vegetation, including the Black-throated Finch, Ornament snake, Squatter pigeon, Waxy cabbage palm and Yakka skink will face extinction as a result of this project. In additon, the corals around the area will get permanently damaged by the residue dumped in the sea. Adani, however, seemed far from concerned about the environment not bothering to even make a passing reference during his recent promotions.
In the aftermath, Australian state and federal governments have now finally refused to finance the project leaving Adani to chase Chinese financiers, who are also now pulling out one by one.
Nevertheless, Adani still seems rooted and the project might take off despite controversies.
Cause for concern:
- In 2004, one of Adanis mining ventures in Zambia was charged with poisoning the local river with toxic wastewater. The river was the source of water for nearly 1,800 Zambians and led to illness and contamination of farmland
- In 2011, a ship owned by Adani, carrying coal, fuel and diesel sank on the coast of Mumbai spilling oil during the breeding season, highly polluting the marine environment
- In 2016, a port owned by Adani in Ahmadabad, Hazira was ordered to stop illegal construction. This was not only affecting the environment but also the livelihoods of local fishermen
- There have been numerous reports of deaths, illnesses and injuries at Adani mines. Exploitation of the workforce is a common thread in all his ventures, including usage of child labour
- To operate the Mundra coal power plant in India, Adani cleared 75 hectares of protected mangroves and sand dunes. He also blocked waterways which hampered aquatic lives; led to village floods and turned groundwater saline