The Indian multinational company Adani wants to build one of the biggest coal mines in the world in the Galilee Basin in Queensland. The mine would export 60 million tonnes of coal a year and will require the expansion of the coal terminal at Abbot Point.
The development will include dredging 1.7 million tonnes of seafloor from inside the Reef’s World Heritage Area, sending a coal ship superhighway through the Reef and destroying habitat for dugongs, dolphins and turtles.
According to a report by Australia’s Climate Council, burning the coal from Adani’s mine will drive dangerous climate change, which scientists say will kill large tracts of the Great Barrier Reef within 20 years.
The head of Adani, billionaire Gutram Adani, has been accused of environmental destruction, illegal activities including bribery, tax evasion and unauthorised construction in India.
The Traditional Owners of the Wangan and Jagalingou country, on which the mine is to be built have formally rejected an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with Adani to build the Carmichael coal mine on their land.
Despite all this, the federal government is supporting the project. In December 2016 the Turnbull government promoted a $1 billion loan from its North Australia Infrastructure Fund to help build a railway to serve the coal mine. The mine has also been granted uncapped access to ground water in a licence that expires in 2077.
Mark Zirnsak, social justice spokesperson for the synod, said the church had been concerned about the environmental and social impact of the Adani mine for some time.
“The Adani mine is about profit and greed which we are constantly warned against in the Bible,” Dr Zirnsak said.
“We already have alternative energy sources, let’s spend public money on renewables rather than outdated technology and propping up the profits of a dodgy multi-national company.
“India does not need more coal. Solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, ocean energy, wave energy, geothermal energy, waste-to-energy and biomass power are all renewable energy options available in India. India added the equivalent of about 40 per cent of Australia’s installed electricity capacity in renewable power generation from 2010 to 2014.”
Richard Arnold from Brunswick Uniting Church is committed to stopping the Adani mine.
“Churches across the globe are concerned about climate change and are speaking out,” Mr Arnold said.
“At Brunswick UC we are holding a community meeting and we hope other churches might be inspired to do the same. If we act together and put the necessary pressure on the Government and the banks, we can make sure this mine doesn’t go ahead.”
Opponents of the proposed mine argue that renewable energy can enable people in India to have a more secure supply of electricity, as they are cheaper and less vulnerable to price increases.
Those advocating renewables say they can also be utilised in a variety of ways, from small to large scale capacities, that can help promote sustainable development and increase employment opportunities, particularly for the rural poor.
Details of the stop Adani community meeting
Brunswick Uniting Church
212 Sydney Road Brunswick
Tuesday 23 May at 7.30 pm to 9.30pm
Enquiries Richard Arnold 0407796429, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Image: Greenpeace Australia/Flickr