SCALING UP

Enviromental activists have accused Adani of quietly planning to scale up its highly-controversial $2bn Carmichael mine and paying a "grossly inadequate'' bond for the eventual clean-up of the site.

Operatives with Lock the Gate Alliance revealed this week that they had obtained state government documents via an RTI application which suggest Adani has the approvals to eventually churn out 55 million tonnes of coal a year from the mine.

While the company, headed by David Boshoff, had originally proposed a mammoth 60 million tonne mine, it drastically scaled that back in late 2018 to just 10 million tonnes.

Adani Australia Mining CEO David Boshoff.
Adani Australia Mining CEO David Boshoff.

An Adani spin doctor confirmed for us on Thursday that this still remains the game plan.

"We are in the process of constructing a 10 million tonne per annum mine, in line with financial approvals provided by our board,'' she said.

But the greenies say that one of Adani's planning documents lodged in early 2018 with the government, known as a "Later Development Plan,'' remains active - and technically gives the company flexibility to ramp up production in the future.

According to the documents, a boost to 27 million tonnes could take place in the second year and the mine may eventually hit 55 million tonnes.

A PITTANCE

Adani, which last week rebadged itself as Bravus Mining & Resources, has also paid a rehabilitation bond worth only half a per cent of its estimated revenue in the first five years of operation.

Specifically, the company has coughed up $26.4m for the period to mid-2025, a time when turnover at the site is expected to reach just shy of $5bn, according to the documents.

Lock the Gate spokesman Rick Humphries claimed a bond of between $1.2bn and $1.5bn would be required to protect taxpayers from potentially having to pay any of the costs associated with the restoration of what might be Australia's biggest mine.

Adani’sCarmichael Coal Mine.
Adani’sCarmichael Coal Mine.

"There is simply no way that amount covers the cost of rehabilitating this level of disturbance as well as all the mine infrastructure,'' he said.

Humphries described it as a "minuscule amount'' and alleged that Adani "plans to leave behind massive unrehabilitated mine pits after mining, which will drain Central Queensland groundwater aquifers".

"Queenslanders should not be left to live with the huge mess … and certainly shouldn't pay for it,'' he said.

RETURNING FIRE

THE Adani spinner returned fire but did not specifically address the issue of how much the company paid for the bond, or claims that mine pits may be left unrepaired. She noted that both state and federal regulators had signed off on the matter in 2014 and the company "is not receiving any special or preferential treatment''.

"Progressive rehabilitation will be undertaken, which involves the staged restoration of disturbed areas during the exploration, construction or development and resource extraction phases of a mining project, instead of large-scale works at the end of operations,'' she said.

"Bravus is committed to ensuring that land disturbed by mining activities is progressively rehabilitated to a safe and stable landform that does not cause adverse environmental impact and can sustain an approved post-mining land use."

Work begins at Adani’s Carmichael Coal Mine.
Work begins at Adani’s Carmichael Coal Mine.

Not surprisingly, none of this satisfied Humphries and he called on the state government "to provide full transparency'' about the bond details, including whether it was an upfront payment or some other type of security.

"There's been too much secrecy around the financial risk assessments for mine rehabilitation in Queensland,'' he said.

 

A Department of Environment and Science spokesman told City Beat the $26.4m bond is a cash payment held in trust and "is not based on the mine's projected maximum production over the life of the project''.

Adani must apply for a new bond scheme if it wants to expand beyond its approved 1840ha area, he said.

He also noted that the mine actually has approvals in place to extract up to 74.5m tonnes. Imagine the greenie rage if that happened!

Originally published as Fresh greenie alarm over Adani


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