Queensland farmer finds common cause over coal with Adani’s Indian neighbours

Queensland cattle grazier Bruce Currie travelled to India to speak to local landholders about their dealings with mining company, Adani.

As a grazier in Central Queensland, I’ve been fighting for a long time to protect our groundwater, which is vital for my grazing business. This has has taken me to many lawyers offices, to court, to Parliament and most recently, to India. I was lucky to have my son look after my beef farm in Central Queensland so I could travel to Gautam Adani’s home-state of Gujarat in India on a fact-finding mission.


After legal battles with GVK Hancock to try protect my groundwater, my wife Annette and I were determined to not let it all go under the bus with Adani’s proposed mega-coal mine. I wanted to know what sort of company we’re dealing with, and whether the reports of Adani’s poor treatment of local communities and the environment in India stacked up.


This trip was eye-opening, and not only because a bloke from Jericho hardly sees that many people in one place! What I saw sent a shiver up my spine.I visited small villages in Mundra and Hazira and met with Indian farmers and fishermen. We found much in common. They told me familiar stories of a big company that gets its foot in the door by promising local jobs and a boost to the local economy, but at the end of the day doesn’t really give a damn about their community.


I heard from locals about how Adani has allegedly polluted groundwater, seized land illegally and bulldozed mangrove forests.


The fishermen we met in Hazira say their fishing catch has been reduced by a whopping 90 per cent since Adani built their port. They complain their catch now smells and even tastes bad.


In Mundra I met a date farmer called Valji Gadhvi who lost his entire 10 acres of crop due to coal dust from the nearby Adani power plant. His cotton and castor oil crops have also been damaged.


What worried me most of all were the reports by farmers and pastoralists of their groundwater being polluted and watercourses blocked.


I have already taken GVK Hancock to court twice to stop the risk of their mines ruining the water I need for my stock.


What I saw made me even more nervous about the risks to Queensland’s water security if Adani gets a foothold here.


It was clear that local people who live cheek by jowl with Adani’s coal projects have had their lives made worse, not better.


Many have had their livelihoods destroyed. And, like me, some have been forced to use what little resources they have to fight this big mining company in the courts to get some kind of justice. Some have even been forced to move away.


When I was in India it became very clear to me how dangerously powerful Adani is there and how the company uses its influence to its own advantage. We see it in Australia too.


The Adani Group has Queensland Labor, our local mayors and the Feds bending over backwards to get their mine over the line.


Their biggest backer is Matt Canavan of course, who is desperate to loan Adani (who’s a billionaire himself) $1 billion of taxpayers’ money to allow the project to go ahead.


We cannot afford for our water aquifers to be destroyed by mining or to wreck agricultural industries for temporary employment in an unsustainable coal burning industry.


We can’t afford to lose the Great Barrier Reef, and the tourist industry it supports.


There are signs of a growing resistance.


While I was overseas, 90 influential Australians [scroll down to comments] came out in opposition to the mine, showing that once again, the state and federal governments are wrong about this project.


It doesn’t have wall-to-wall support.


Hats off to Australians like businessman John Mullen and the legendary Chappell brothers who aren’t afraid to call it like it is. They have made a courageous statement by saying Australia can’t afford to host Adani’s Carmichael mine. Never has a truer word been spoken.


- Bruce Currie, Jericho  

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Anti-coal blogI found the above story on an anti-coal blog: http://endcoal.org/2017/04/coalwire-179-april-20-2017/. It looks like a valuable resource for anti-coal activists. - Diet Simon

Other current stories there: Australia: Barrage of pro-Adani Tweets using same messages tracked back to three accounts in India.  -  Banks to review Adani and Tata after Supreme Court ruling  -  China: Ban on coal trucks at Tianjin port brought forward from July to end of April.  -  India: Andhra Pradesh Minister for Energy puts new coal projects on hold due to overcapacity.  -  India ponders export plans anew  -  Netherlands: Crowdfunding campaign has raised US$5.4 million to buy and shut Amsterdam coal plant.  -  UK: Grant of US$7.5m awarded to UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre to promote CCS.  -  How an Indian government-owned company takes land for coal  -  Indonesian court overturns key power plant permit  -  Contenders for South Korea’s Presidency vow to cut coal   -  Indian court set to charge former minister over 1999 coal block allocation  -  Trump Administration stays rule on coal plant water pollution  -  Trump administration seeks review of renewables’ challenge to coal  - Taiwan Government’s plan won’t clean air, says coalition  -  Malaysian landowners arrested for protests over land  -  Poland’s anti-wind moves come with a cost  -   Low prices renew China’s interest in coal-to-oil projects 

'When I heard about the Queensland coal mine, it felt like a stab in the back'

By Sofia Berezin, 16-year-old student completing year 11 in Melbourne

From Australia's half-hearted attempts of increasing renewable energy to the 141,000 tonnes of nitrogen flowing into our rivers each year from agriculture, we should be ashamed of ourselves. Our nation is sixteenth in the world for domestic CO2 emissions, and per capita we are close to the worst offender. But I don't want to talk figures at you. I'd actually like to bring to your attention why we need to stop the new Carmichael coal mine from commencing construction in August this year.

A reality you can’t dig yourself out of – Adani’s coal mine is a dud  

By Ian McAuley, adjunct lecturer in public sector finance at the University of Canberra

In a world where coal has no future, the proposed Adani mine should not be given serious consideration. Even if climate change were not a pressing problem, and even if thermal coal prices were to rise and stay high, the project would bring little benefit to Australia.

Even if Adani could forestall import bans [by India] and crowd out renewable developments, however, on a world scale that would not support coal prices, as other countries turn away from coal, leaving plenty of spare capacity. In a world of low demand and therefore low prices for coal, it would be easy for Adani to “renegotiate” royalty payments to the Queensland government. That is, to threaten to close the show down unless the government reduces or abolishes its royalties, leaving nothing for Australia except for a huge hole in the ground, damaged aquifers, an insult to the land’s traditional custodians, the carcass of abandoned mine equipment, a railroad to nowhere, and a ruined national reputation as a responsible global citizen.

Byron council blacklists Westpac over Adani mine

The Byron Shire Council will withdraw $1 million from Westpac because of the bank’s refusal to publicly rule out financing the controversial Adani Carmichael coal mine. Byron Shire is a local government area located on the Pacific coast in northern New South Wales, about 50 kilometres south of the Queensland border.

Councillor Michael Lyon, one of four Greens (including Mayor Simon Richardson) in the nine-member council, put forward an urgency motion at yesterday’s council meeting calling on the council to divest the funds at the first opportunity that would not lead to any financial disadvantage to ratepayers.

The motion, which was passed, also means the council will refrain from any future investments with Westpac and other financial institutions and their subsidiaries until they publicly rule out any financing of the mine.

Coal shipsA documentary film against the Adani mine has now become available, reports the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. “The people powered movement to stop Adani is really heating up. From giant street parties to pressure Westpac on their 200th birthday, to cheeky actions outside [Prime Minister] Malcolm Turnbull and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's offices.

“But we’re going to need everyone to get on board the #stopadani train if we’re going to win. Your mates, your mum, your neighbours, your school. That’s where the Guarding the Galilee: inside the fight to stop Adani coal documentary comes in. Host a film screening! http://www.stopadani.com/film

“From stunning shots of the Queensland outback and Great Barrier Reef coast, to interviews with farmers, locals, Reef tourist operators, financial analysts, and activists - this documentary will convince anyone that Adani’s mine shouldn’t go ahead.

“What’s at stake if this mine goes ahead will fire you up, and the courage of the people working on this fight will inspire you. Think of the impact of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth back in 2007 - films are an extraordinary way to spark people to action.

“It’s super easy to host a screening all you have to do is register your interest, invite your friends, download the doco and you’re ready to go. Join the fight and host a screening in your local community with your family and friends!

“If we can share the powerful stories of the people who will be impacted by this mine and the battle against Adani, we can inspire thousands of people, get them involved in the campaign, and super size our opposition to this dirty project.”