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The Madness of Greg Hunt and the Carmichael Mine

Just in case anyone was left doubting the Abbott government’s disdain for environmental protection, our Environment Minister Greg Hunt has laid that to rest, approving the development of one of the largest coal mines in the world.

The Carmichael mine will be developed by Indian power company Adani. Owned by an Indian billionaire, Adani are sourcing Australian coal to fuel the surging demand for electricity in India.  They hope to begin exporting coal from the mega-mine in 2017.

The coal mine is simply gigantic – the largest Australia has ever seen, and one of the biggest in the world. Consisting of six open cut pits and five underground mines, it will cover an area seven times the size of Sydney Harbour.  The initial stages require the clearing of 20,000 hectares of bushland, home to 60 threatened species of flora and fauna.

Around 60 million tonnes of coal will be sent to the Queensland coast every year by an accompanying $2.1 billion rail corridor, where it will be exported to India from Abbot Point via the Great Barrier Reef.

CO2 emissions from the combusted Carmichael mine coal are estimated at a whopping 128 million tonnes per annum, cancelling out any of the gains made under the government’s pathetic Direct Action policy.  To put that figure in perspective, that’s equal to four times the amount that New Zealand emits in a year.

There were so many reasons not to approve this unprecedented development, both economic and environmental. Greg Hunt, however, was unmoved.

Of foremost concern – Adani’s alarming environmental track record. In India, they have been fined for illegally building on villagers’ land and destroying protected mangrove areas. They have been involved in the large-scale illegal export of iron ore, bribing officials, building an aerodrome without environmental approval, manipulating the approval process, ignoring environmental conditions and non-compliance with environmental monitoring.

Remember the Abbot Point controversy?  Well, Adani were one of the companies behind that too. Adani owns the coal export terminal at Abbot Point.  For the massive volumes of coal to be shipped overseas from their Carmichael mine, they need to expand the terminal to meet the surge in exports, which will see upwards of 450 extra coal ships travelling through the Great Barrier Reef every year.

Safe to say, this is bad news for the reef environment.

The proposed expansion of the coal export terminal requires three million cubic tonnes of seabed to be dredged, and dumped in adjacent waters within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.  Despite concerns within the GBR Marine Park Authority itself and UNESCO, as well as public outcry over the threat to the reef, Greg Hunt approved the dredging.

So toxic and unpopular is the Abbot Point dredging project, even international banks don’t want to be associated with it, with HSBC, Deutsche Bank and The Royal Bank of Scotland withdrawing funding.  But despite this, the Australian government thinks it fine to go ahead.

Despite Adani’s woeful record, Greg Hunt is comfortable allowing them to operate in one of the most environmentally sensitive areas in the world.  I am not.

The impact on groundwater has been a major cause for concern.  When operational, the mine will extract 12 billion litres annually from local rivers and aquifers, in an agricultural region already prone to drought and dependent largely on water from bores. Hunt assures us that,

“The absolute strictest of conditions have been imposed to ensure the protection of the environment, with a specific focus on the protection of groundwater.”

In what we’ve learned to be the usual Greg Hunt response, he has slapped on a bunch of ‘Conditions’ and ‘Offsets’ to mitigate any environmental damage, 36 in this case, although a Senate enquiry has shown what rubbish these are.

“These 36 conditions complement the conditions imposed by the Queensland Government, and will ensure the proponent meets the highest environmental standards and that all impacts, including cumulative impacts, are avoided, mitigated or offset.” – Greg Hunt

So what are the net benefits for Australians? Economic reports continue to show us that coal is just not profitable anymore.  There are real questions surrounding the viability of Galilee Basin coal projects in the face of a long term, downward trend in global coal prices.  A huge investment in infrastructure by Adani is needed to service the Carmichael mine, which has driven down their potential for profit substantially.

“Good quality steaming coal exported from Australia is fetching about $US67 ($71.30) a tonne in the spot market, which means that after taking borrowing costs into account there would be little profit margin.” – SMH

Any profits made will be channelled overseas to India first, then to other Asian nations who will take on development contracts like Korea, whose company POSCO who will build the rail link. In the absence of a Carbon or Mining Tax, benefits to Australians are small – apart from the promise of employment and regional development.

But at what cost?  A country is more than just an economy.  All Australians will be left with is a massive hole in the ground, linked to a dying reef by a ghost train.  In the mean time, Greg Hunt will twiddle his thumbs, waiting for the years-away clean coal technology to be rolled out.

But there’s still a glimmer of hope.  While the coal mine has been approved, Adani still need to secure billions of dollars of funding before they can begin construction (or destruction in this case).  Greenpeace, together with GetUp, AYCC and Market Forces are campaigning to stop the Big Four Banks from funding Adani.

If Australians continue to show their collective power through grassroots campaigning and action, hopefully our banks will have the sense to ditch this sinking ship.

42 comments

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  1. bobrafto

    ditch this sinking ship.

    I would have added ‘stinking’, sinking ship for the sake of telling it like it is.

  2. Cedric

    Coal is dead, in spite of what Abbott may think

  3. michaelattoowoomba

    michaelattoowoomba.
    I can only think that given the fact this bunch of ” MAD HATTERS AUS.,TEA PARTY ” Adani seems to be a like minded bunch of crooks,
    and is it really kool the port has a nice name,just like little tone,,yes the disrepect is as intentional as the contempt this crowd of nutty LIARBRILS have for this country and our citisens,who I hope will vote them out of our memory. michael f

  4. June M Bullivant OAM (@granvillehistor)

    The land that Adani has leased for 99 years belongs to the people of Australia, this is Crown Land leased by the Queensland Government, the NSW Act does not allow private profit to be made from public Land, the NSW Government has recently put out a white paper which will allow them to do what the Queensland has done. The money derived from lease of Crown Land should be put back into the community. Given the Adani record of being fined for corruption I wonder who has been corrupted. Also is this the family that Gina Rinehart and Barnaby Joyce went to?

  5. corvus boreus

    This Mumbai telemarketing scam was brought to you through the power of Australian Coal.

  6. mars08

    In the absence of a Carbon or Mining Tax, benefits to Australians are small – apart from employment…

    We really have to perpetuating this notion that mining is a jobs bonanza. It’s just not true.

  7. Terry2

    Not only did Hunt approve this massive mine which, may never be financially viable, but he approved dredging with the spoil being dumped at sea in a most vulnerable area. In most parts of the world, dredge spoil is a commodity that can be used for land reclamation not just dumped in pristine waters.

    Absolute madness !

  8. Kaye Lee

    Stock advice about Adani…

    “The company has accumulated 194.66 B in total debt with debt to equity ratio (D/E) of 3.68 implying the company greatly relies on financing operations through barroing. Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited has Current Ratio of 0.88 indicating that it has a negative working capital and may not be able to pay financial obligations in time and when they become due.

    Based on latest financial disclosure Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited has Probability Of Bankruptcy of 41.56%. This is much higher than that of the sector, and significantly higher than that of Probability Of Bankruptcy industry, The Probability Of Bankruptcy for all stocks is over 1000% lower than the firm. ”

    Somehow I think they may have trouble finding creditors.

    http://www.macroaxis.com/invest/ratio/MUNDRAPOR.BO–Probability_Of_Bankruptcy

  9. Lost2

    And after destroying the Australian Landscape and polluting every available drinking source, they have made themselves the untouchables to seek any action against them for being environmental destructionists, but this mob aren’t worried about their childrens, children, as long as their party pockets are lined with cash, and future jobs after leaving politics are secured.

  10. mikestasse

    Wow Kaye…….. thanks for that info…… it seems all energy companies are scraping the bottom of the barrel now we are post Peak Everything. Just this morning I learned that the fracking companies in the US have been losing $110 BILLION (with a B) a year for the last five years…… or more than half a TRILLION dollars…. how much longer can this madness go on?

  11. Kaye Lee

    I am expecting Paris to be a very difficult time for Hunt.

    “Mr. Ban stressed that the summit on climate change that he is convening at UN Headquarters in New York in September will be an opportunity for global leaders from Government, business, finance, and civil society to initiate ambitious joint actions on the ground to reduce emissions and strengthen climate resilience, mobilizing the political will for a meaningful global legal climate accord by 2015, when States parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will meet in Paris.

    “The finance community is a key player. We need trillions of dollars of investment to move from the brown to the green economy,” the United Nations chief told a session on Climate, Growth and Development, citing four areas for action.

    “First, we need investors, banks and other financial service providers to increase finance flows into low-carbon energy and climate-resilient infrastructure, including through setting portfolio targets and increasing the deployment of climate bonds. Second, we need to decrease the flow of finance to carbon-intensive and obsolete technologies and business practices.

    “Third, investors and banks should work to increase transparency regarding greenhouse gas emissions from the assets and businesses that they finance. Finally, investors and banks and regulators should work together to ensure that rules that govern financial markets are conducive to sustainable development.”

    “Addressing climate change is also a great opportunity to support all our sustainable development goals. At the same time, the actions we take on sustainable development can help tackle climate change,” he stressed.

    “Investment now will result in major savings in the future, and can propel economic growth today. It can support universal energy access, sustainable cities and well-being for people and the planet.”

    At a Forum session on Catalyzing Green Investment Mr. Ban told business leaders the September summit “is your opportunity to show what you can and will do, and to work with governments at the highest level to address climate change.”

    http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46995#.U-AWhjccRjo

  12. Rob031

    The ‘sparkle’ on Hunt’s tooth was a very nice touch.

    Dig it up, chop it down, and flog it off summarize the mentality of these environmental vandals. Not a single imaginative brain cell between the lot of them.

  13. ydarcy

    Hunt is a crazy man No brain no pain

  14. David Linehan

    We can help by getting out of the clutches of the big banks. I did it, went to a Credit Union and have been completely satisfied with their service. They provide everything. I require, interest rates are competitive. Online banking etc etc.
    i wont touch another of the big 4 ever

  15. mikestasse

    Kaye……. “First, we need investors, banks and other financial service providers to increase finance flows into low-carbon energy and climate-resilient infrastructure” unfortunately relies on an utterly broken monetary system that can lead to………….

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-04/impsa-s-wind-power-energy-declared-in-bankruptcy-by-brazil-judge.html
    Impsa’s Wind Power Energy Declared in Bankruptcy by Brazil Judge
    By Pablo Gonzalez
    Aug 5, 2014

    The most profitable unit of Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona SA, the Argentine wind power company that delayed its June debt service for a week, was declared bankrupt by a judge in Brazil.

    We need more than this. We have to redesign civilisation.

  16. Kaye Lee

    Yes we do mike but that cannot happen in the blink of an eye so every step forward must be taken to buy us a little time.

  17. mikestasse

    The little time we don’t have…….??

  18. nurses1968

    We aren’t likely to see this lot of LNP fools , or any in the future lose their love affair with dirty coal and oil.
    Twiggy, Gina and all the big miners through their IPA mates call the tune .
    With new oil coming online like ,
    “SOUTH Australia is sitting on oil potentially worth more than $20 trillion, independent reports claim – enough to turn Australia into a self-sufficient fuel producer.

    Brisbane company Linc Energy yesterday released two reports, based on drilling and seismic exploration, estimating the amount of oil in the as yet untapped Arckaringa Basin surrounding Coober Pedy ranging from 3.5 billion to 233 billion barrels of oil.”
    the best we can hope for is significant improvements in new technology , probably developed overseas and rapid increases in wind solar thermal etc.

    mikestasse
    the damned matrix isn’t going to save us, even though you push it to the point of obsession.
    Weren’t you spruiking “every person for themselves” last week with your doomsday predictions.
    On your look after yourself , doomsday prepper scenario, what precautions have you taken that, if it gets as bad as your dire predictions, that a whole bunch of us don’t just jump the fence and raid your stash ?
    You can plug the damnmatrix all day long, it won’t save you

  19. mikestasse

    “SOUTH Australia is sitting on oil potentially worth more than $20 trillion, independent reports claim – enough to turn Australia into a self-sufficient fuel producer.”

    YEAH right……… the very same technology that is seeing companies in Amrika losing $110 BILLION (with a B) a year for the last five years…… or more than half a TRILLION dollars…. Do we have to follow the Yanks stupidity, AGAIN..??

    That oil MIGHT be “potentially worth more than $20 trillion”, but it might cost $30 Trillion to get it all out of the ground. And let’s not mention the environmental cost.

  20. mikestasse

    For your information nurses, I was ‘spruiking’ that old hat news (http://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/2013/01/24/will-fracking-postpone-peak-oil/) on the damned matrix way back in January 2013……. I doubt YOU’ll teach me anything on these energy issues…

    And I know you won’t bother, but someone else just might be interested…… the whole catastrophe with serious analysis of that idiot scheme by PEOPLE WHO KNOW this shit is here http://damnthematrix.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/australia-headed-for-energy-crisis/

  21. Kaye Lee

    Two Dutch guys have developed a way of splicing illuminating properties of Jellyfish with trees to create leaves that glow in the dark.

    Krichevsky creates the plants by “splicing DNA from luminescent marine bacteria to the chloroplast genome of a common houseplant, so the stem and leaves emit a faint light similar to that produced by fireflies and jellyfish.”

    If glow in the dark trees were to be planted across pavements around the world, replacing street lights, the potential environmental benefits could be huge.

  22. Chokyi Nyingpo

    Kaye – if we could get them to join up with these guys then both problems could be solved.

    Solar panels that you can drive, park, and walk on. They melt snow and… cut greenhouse gases by 75-percent?

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways#home

  23. mikestasse

    Lighting, as a source of greenhouse emissions is THE lowest hanging fruit there is. The real energy problems we face are transport, cooling and heating (to stay alive in extreme hot and cold climates, especially post climate tipping points…) and running industry. The internet is full of harebrained schemes that ‘might’, ‘could’, and probably won’t because we are spearheading into a perfect storm…….

    And those solar roadways…?

    “Dr. Roy Spencer and I have been watching this project with amusement combined with incredulity. Somehow, this mom and pop operation have raised over $1.9 million on Indiegogo from gullible people who don’t have the skillset or decide to ignore basic physics, economics, and common sense in favor of future pipe dreams of green energy. This video that follows shows why their claim doesn’t make any sense, none at all. The best part? The impetus was for this idea was global warming.”
    @ http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/04/solar-roadways-biggest-indiegogo-scam-ever/

    You need to get yourself a really robust BULLSHIT meter when you surf the internet….. stop clutching at straws. We DO have the solutions….. they’re just not where you’re looking.

  24. nurses1968

    mikestasse
    “I doubt YOU’ll teach me anything on these energy issues…”
    you are probably right,
    BUT, I could probably help you out with your issues.
    I am a psych nurse
    The delusions of grandeur, the self importance ……………………………………

  25. mikestasse

    I’m married to a Nurse currently doing a Masters in psychology. Thanks but no thanks……. I’m fine.

    She’s figured when the shit hits the fan, there will be a great need for her services to help people who never saw it coming.

  26. Chokyi Nyingpo

    Sorry for posting that idea – I feel like I’m to be made to feel like a bit of a goose now – was only trying to add to the conversation – sometimes ideas that one somebody says are crackpot some other somebody goes and adapts it into something else – or, every drop makes the ocean bigger, no? And they’ve raised $2.2M.

    Thinking is such hard work and that’s why so few people do it.

  27. Kaye Lee

    Chokyi.

    Never let people like mike, who gave up long ago, deter you. The world runs on ideas. mike has some good ones in his sphere but he refuses to entertain anything but the “bible according to mike”. He is correct that we will run out of things…he says we have run out now and all must just accept the reality and become subsistence barterers.

    I refuse to adopt a fatalistic approach and I believe every idea we have, every small step we can take, should be explored.

    As I have quoted before…if the road to destiny is hope or despair, which road would you choose to travel?

    Please keep sharing any ideas you have or read about. You may just inspire someone to do something brilliant. And in the mean time we do what we can to improve.

    and mike,

    using wattsupwiththat to question someone’s credibility???? Give me a break! He’s an American tv weatherman with connections to the Heartland Institute.

  28. Dan Dark

    Chokyi, don’t take any notice of Mike the know it all,
    Nurse1968 is dead right about him, he is only here for self promotion
    It can get brutal yes, but it’s only words at the end of the day
    “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt you” I tell my kids that all the time, it could be worse in other words and that’s how bullies run with a lot of words.

  29. Chokyi Nyingpo

    Thank you for that explanation Kaye – I didn’t know how to take this post at first as I had (mostly) read posts here on AIMN that were, frankly, quite supportive of each other and the sharing of ideas rather than, how shall I say this, less than? I feel better now. And i DO mean it!

  30. mikestasse

    The problem is Chokyi Nyingpo that the internet is FULL of all sorts of crap. Unless you take the time to investigate what’s real or not, how can you know what you’re reading isn’t a hoax? I didn’t post that rebuke to make you feel bad. I did it in an attempt to make people realise that most of the techno fixes that are spruiked on the net are put there by people with zero understanding of complex scientific issues, or worse, scammers looking to take your money…. I’ve been taken by the odd one myself 9not scammers, I don’t have any money to give them anyway!!), so don’t feel bad.

    What REALLY gets up my nose is that all these BS ideas are giving people with no knowledge hope (I prefer to call it HOPIUM) that we can keep the damned Matrix operational, when in fact we should be working like all hell to transition to a totally different system…… a system I happen to believe has the potential of being far more humane to not only the environment, but to humanity itself.

    The government itself is guilty of this…… they’ve conned people left right and centre that they can steer this sinking ship to more of the same. They’re all liars. We are lied to constantly. I discovered this more than twenty years ago now, and I’m over it. Which is why I often sound aggressive and impatient, because I am at the end of my tether with all the crapola that’s going on all around the world……

    Our resident psych nurse might find this piece interesting……..
    http://zenarchery.com/2014/08/everyone-i-know-is-brokenhearted/

  31. corvus boreus

    Mikestasse,
    I, myself, am sceptical of the practical merits of the ‘solar roadway’ concept, but did you really have to link to “WattsUpWithThat?” in your rebuttal? It is a denialist kook site disseminating climate disinformation that should not be promoted. For credibility, stick to plausable sources in your links.

  32. mikestasse

    Ah CB……. you’re making the mistake of generalising. Just because I too disagree with their climate denialist BS doesn’t mean they get 100% everything wrong..

    Have you never heard of the rule “Never generalise” 😉

  33. Matters Not

    I am at the end of my tether …

    I can believe that. The evidence abounds.

  34. corvus boreus

    mikestasse,
    I will generalise about the validity of the input of Antony Watts, as I will about others with track records of falsehoods and corrupt agendas.
    Watts has consistently got so much wrong in his own field, with his underlying motives tainted by corporate money, that I tend to disregard his input on other matters.
    I will undertake my own research to inform my own opinion, but I will not heed the spurious claims of bought mountebanks.
    I would not reference a quote by A Bolt or A Jones, even if it aligned with my own viewpoint, because their persistent dishonesty has rendered their contributions as worthless. Same with the yank weatherman.
    As I said, I tend to agree with the impracticality of using vehicular road-surface for photo-voltaic purposes, it is just that Watts is the worst kind of piss-poor reference; corrupted, biased and inaccurate to the point of worthlessness.
    I am someone who judges liars harshly.

  35. JohnB

    The best practical advice I can offer that might benefit average citizens is to check on the exposure of your accumulated superannuation funds investments to fossil fuel industries.
    I understand there are funds that minimize their investment in these industries.
    If it were my money, I would feel somewhat safer if I wasn’t exposed to potential collapse of coal investments in particular, through low profitability and stranded assets.

    When the inevitable move away from fossil fuel resources starts, you can bet that the big corporations will move quick and first – lightning fast to ensure they get the best price on the way out.
    Most smaller investors will be left to pick up whatever pieces are left on the sharemarket floor.

  36. Kaye Lee

    ” I didn’t post that rebuke to make you feel bad.”

    And therein lies the point mike. Your dismissive approach makes people stop listening to the worthwhile message that you are trying to send. Your fatalism gives people no choices, no hope. You look forward to a Mad Max world where you think your vegie patch will keep you safe. You don’t offer hope, you embrace despair – you crave it because you see it as the catalyst for change.

    Babies learn to walk by clinging onto things and being supported as they take baby steps. You want to throw the baby in the deep end and if they don’t crawl out then they don’t deserve respect let alone help.

    I will stay in the flood and try to keep people afloat hoping for a lifeline to appear. While we breathe I will keep kicking. You may run for the hills….I will not.

    And the irony of someone saying “the internet is FULL of all sorts of crap” after just using a charlatan who DID actually support your view is cherry picking hypocrisy of the worst kind.

  37. Katherine Marchment

    So Barnaby Joyce, Greg Hunt et al attend the wedding of the daughter of Adani mining billionaire at Gina’s request. Only becomes public because Barnaby claimed the wedding as “business expenses” on parliamentary return. Fast Forward to present and Greg Hunt signs off on Adani mine. Coincidence of course. Boy that must have been some wedding.

  38. Dr Richard Satur

    Why is Foxtel’s Sky News avoiding reporting on this horrendous decision by Mr Hunt? I have even spoken to my local Labour MP and he was oblivious to this latest development. You only have to review Mr Hunt’s Facebook page to see the uproar. I am a Liberal voter and yet I believe we need to remove these extreme conservatives asap. One Term Tony please, for the benefit of all of our children.

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