The future of Queensland’s proposed Carmichael coal mine has been put into serious doubt after the State Government indicated it would veto a planned loan to the company responsible.
Indian company Adani, who own exclusive rights to the mine, had an application for a $1bn loan approved, the money from which was set to build a rail line to transport the coal.
Since the mine’s approval it has been hotly debated. Opponents had argued it would do untold damage to the Great Barrier Reef, taking the region’s tourism industry down with it.
— Terry Hughes (@ProfTerryHughes) April 19, 2016
The mine also poses a short-term risk to the Great Barrier Reef, with an increasing risk of contamination.
— Jamie Smyth (@JamieSmythF) April 10, 2017
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk indicated her government would veto the loan due to perceived conflict of interest concerns. Palaszczuk’s partner works for PriceWaterhouseCoopers, who have been intimately involved in negotiating the loan for Adani.
With the Queensland election just weeks away (November 25), Palaszczuk sought to ensure the conflict of interest wouldn’t be made into an election issue.
“I am told they planned to use this during the election campaign to impugn my character and suggest something untoward,” Palaszczuk said.
But the veto has also got more than a fair share of political gamesmanship to it, with the mine largely unpopular among all Australian demographics.
Almost two thirds of Australians polled indicated they did not support the mine, with only one in five indicating they’d like to see its construction.
The mine, which was set to be the biggest coal mine in Australian history and one of the biggest in the world, has come under intense criticism. Many of those opposed to the mine say the government should be investing in renewable energy rather than coal – which is becoming increasingly more difficult to make a profit from.
While Australian politicians have attempted to justify the creation of the mine as in the interests of India and its rapidly developing population, the Indian Government has publicly indicated a preference for renewables – with coal imports to be halted in the future.
This video from The Guardian dispels some of the myths surrounding the mine – including that it would provide a jobs windfall for the region. After the Federal and State governments claimed it would create more than 10,000 jobs, a report commissioned by Adani – i.e. the company that wants the mine to go ahead – said the mine would create 1,464 full-time equivalent positions.