Adani: Put up or pack up

That’s my suggestion for the way Bill Shorten can resolve his continuing problems over the Adani Carmichael mine-port-rail project. To spell it out, he should set a deadline (say June 30) for Adani to achieve financial close for the entire project, and commence construction. If the deadline isn’t met, Labor should oppose the project outright. This is only a marginal variant on the position of leading Adani supporter, Jenny Hill, who suggested a six month deadline in February. So, it gives plenty of cover for those who have supported Adani to fall into line.

The big risk is that Adani will somehow come up with the money to fund the project. As Tim Buckley has pointed out, Gautam Adani is, on paper, rich enough to pay for it out of his own personal wealth, but he shows no sign of doing so. The basic problem is that, while India may not achieve its stated goal of eliminating coal imports, the long term trend is clearly down. That’s only going to accelerate with the shift to renewables, in which Adani itself is a major player. While Mr Adani would rather keep the Carmichael project alive on life support, he’s unlikely to risk his own fortune on such a marginal project.

The end of Adani’s project will entail the end of the whole idea of developing the Galilee Basin. None of the other potential mines have any chance of starting if Adani fails. That leaves open the broader question of a moratorium on new coal mines, which Labor will need to address sooner or later. But the threat posed by the Galilee Basin coal is so great that it’s worth an inelegant compromise.

7 thoughts on “Adani: Put up or pack up

  1. “Commencing construction” can readily be fudged. It doesn’t cost much to hire a couple of bulldozers to push earth around for a photo op. The crucial condition is financial closure.

    “Established in 1988 as a trading company, the Adani Group today is India’s top infrastructure and energy conglomerate. It is the country’s largest ports and logistics business, private power and transmission player, integrated mining player and agriculture business. It is also India’s leading solar power generation and manufacturing company.”

    Largest mining player… and renewables? Can’t be coal mining then, so it must be governments, no?

  3. What problems? Post Batman, Shorten probably thinks he is handling it all superbly, with just enough ambiguity to keep everybody on side. The final proof will come when the Labor Party is forced into a by-election in the semi-rural Queensland seat of Longman after Susan Lamb is forced out over her British citizenship. Longman is not Batman, to put it mildly. If Shorten can pull that off, he can get a job at Cirque de Soleil straddling razor wire at a great height without a safety net.

  4. @Smith

    Labor won the state election, including seats in Townsville and Rockhampton, and gained seats in SEQ, where Longman is located. I doubt that Adani will be a losing issue there, if it’s an issue at all.

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