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Gautam Adani’s disputed mine in Australia shows that digging coal is not easy

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Thousands of Australians protested against the Carmichael coal mine of mining giant Adani Enterprises. (file)

Billionaire Gautam Adani’s coal mine in Australia, a project that has become a global icon for opposition to fossil fuels, is preparing to start exporting after more than a decade of bitter controversy over its development.

Proposed in 2010 and halted by legal challenges, financial setbacks and a relentless campaign of climate activists, the operation is scheduled to ship the first cargo before the end of December and aims to ship an initial 10 million tonnes of thermal energy annually for at least 30 years. To supply coal. ,

Protests against the Carmichael mine, located inland from Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef in the state of Queensland, have spread environmental activists to Wall Street banks, insurers and investors, a microcosm of a growing international campaign against the most polluting fossil fuel over the past decade. world offers.

“Carmichael has catalyzed a broader conversation about the future of thermal coal,” said Samantha Hepburn, a law professor at Melbourne-based Deakin University who has focused on mining and energy issues. “This is happening not just for activists, but for investors in the boardroom and around the world who want to reduce their exposure to toxic investments.”

Yet the start of overseas sales reflects coal’s still-important role in the world’s energy mix, a situation that has prompted China and India – top consumers – to set a global deadline for phasing out the fuel in the COP26 climate talks. efforts had to be reduced. Demand is increasing in parts of Asia, and the solution to recent power shortages from Beijing and New Delhi was to ramp up coal production.

Exports from Carmichael will be used to supply electricity to India and countries in Southeast Asia, according to Bravas Mining and Resources, an Adani unit in Australia. Analysts expect at least some of the material to be used by the group’s own power plants, though the company declined to specify details of its customers.

“We have already secured the market for 10 million tonnes of coal,” Bravas said in a statement. According to the company, “the coal will be sold at index-adjusted pricing,” and all taxes and royalties will be paid locally. Marine coal prices have jumped wildly in recent weeks, falling from record highs in October and then recovering some gains.

The project, which the company self-financed, has been withdrawn from initial plans for an A$16 billion ($11 billion) operation that could produce 60 million tonnes per year. The company also lists over 100 approvals that are safe for development, and has developed conservation strategies, including plans to protect the endangered black-throated finches found in the project area.

The Australian government also argues that local mines such as Carmichael could reduce global emissions, as coal is of higher quality and would displace the use of more polluting fuels.

Adani, Asia’s second-richest man and founder of the Adani Group, is facing sharp criticism as his companies seek to add investment to fossil fuels – including coal mines and power plants – even That he launched a $70 billion campaign to build world-leading. Renewable energy giant.

“We are making every effort to make renewable energy a viable, economical alternative to fossil fuels,” Adani told Bloomberg India Economic Forum last month. 2070.

Ending India’s reliance on coal, which accounts for about 70% of electricity generation, is key to that goal, and Adani’s opponents point to proposals that could nearly double the group’s coal-fired power capacity. can, and can dramatically boost the production of fuel.

“Adani is trying to walk on both sides of the road,” said Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

The Carmichael project has attracted such widespread attention at its initially planned scale, which could have made Australia’s largest coal mine, the fact that it would boost global supply, as nations including the US increasingly shun fuel use from consumers. Urge to abolish, and more resist some indigenous landlords.

There have also been enduring concerns that the development, which includes a 200-kilometre (124 mi) railroad, could help enable a series of mines in Queensland’s previously untouched Galilee Basin, a coal-rich region of the same size as Britain. Is.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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