Adanis "offered" $320 million royalties holiday for Australian coalmining project, even as expert says it is "not viable"

Written by SabrangIndia Staff | Published on: May 19, 2017

Queensland premier with chairman Gautam Adani

In a major boon to India’s powerful industrial group, the Adanis have been offered a $320 million “royalties holiday” in their prestigious coalmining project in Australia. The offer, reports Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), requires the Adanis to pay “just $2 million a year in royalties once the $21 billion project starts operating.”

Pointing out that “the royalty rate will then increase after several years”, quoting sources, ABC said, “Under the proposed agreement, the state would lose out on a total of $320 million in royalties”. The offer has come following Queensland state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s negotiations with Adanis over the proposed royalties holiday.
Following the negotiations, the report quotes Palaszczuk as saying, "What we know about this project is that it is vital for regional jobs." The Carmichael project is expected to produce 25 million tonnes of coal a year in its first phase.

In a separate report, the British Guardian reports, it is a “$320m deferment of Carmichael coal export royalties”, adding, the Queensland government offer comes after “a former climate change adviser to the federal government said risks inherent in Australia’s largest proposed coalmine meant Adani could shelve its plans.”

The Guardian quotes Prof Will Steffen’s Climate Council report to say that a “carbon budget” approach to a global warming limit of 2C rules out Carmichael coalmine.
“As a catalyst for opening up neighbouring mines, it could lead to total emissions from Galilee basin coal matching ‘one of the top 15 emitting countries in the world’ and making up 130% of Australia’s total carbon pollution.”, the report adds.

Quoting from the report, the Guardian says, “The carbon budget for 2C allows for less than 10% of existing Australian coal reserves to be dug up, leaving ‘no basis for developing any potential new coalmines, no matter where they are or what size they are’. This takes into account the ‘most economical’ existing sources of coal worldwide.”
“There are two undeniable trends – an accelerating uptake of renewable energy and coal plant closures,” the report is further quoted as saying. “For Australia to fight these trends is
economically, socially and environmentally unwise and counterproductive.”

Steffen said his key observation from the report was that rising impacts at “modest temperature rises” – such as bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef – along with more extreme events and warming of 1.1C-1.2C already “really put the pressure on getting out of fossil fuels probably faster than most people have thought”.
Coal, which gives out “a lot more CO2 per unit of energy” than oil or gas, comes out as “the biggest loser” under a carbon budget, Steffen said, adding, “Basically, the story is we can still burn over half the conventional oil reserves, less than half the conventional gas reserves, but very little of the coal reserves, because coal emits a lot more CO2 per unit of energy.”

“The real question is how fast can we phase out our existing mines and existing power stations before their normal lifetime is up. How do we hasten the transition? So any talk of opening up a vast new area of coal is completely out of whack with what we know about what’s happening with the climate systems”, he added.

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