Adani’s silent partners

A month after Adani got the final approvals for its Carmichael mine, it’s still hard to work out what’s going on with Adani and the Galilee Basin in general. Adani has been making a fair bit of noise, but the project still seems to consist of tree clearing and road building.

To get past this stage, and without significant in-house experience of major projects, Adani needs partners: engineering design firms, construction contractors, and so on. And even if no external funding is needed, the project still needs insurance, which is getting harder to come by.

Adani claims it has insurance lined up, but declines to say which firm is providing it. Assuming the claim is true, the obvious explanation is that the insurer is worried about reputational damage from being associated with such a toxic project. Presumably, that concern will be reflected in higher premiums.

The same is true as regards engineering. It’s widely rumored that global firm Gutteridge, Haskins and Davey will get the job, but so far GHD has refused to comment. As well as reputational damage, GHD needs to consider the fact that Adani has burned a string of previous contractors. They are still fighting their last partner, AECOM over a payment of $12 million. AECOM must surely be regretting ever getting into bed with Adani, ending up losing their money as well as their reputation.

Any firm looking at this history, and tendering to Adani, would want a high price and money up front for its services, as well as trying to keep its involvement as quiet as possible. That in turn raises the question of how a project that was marginal to begin with can manage to pay over the odds for everything it needs. This at a time when a company like Whitehaven is relying for its continued profitability on the assumption that existing producers will leave the market.

On the jobs front, Adani has been advertising positions in its Townsville office (about 60, as of today). But that’s barely enough to replace the cuts made last year. There’s no sign of the promised thousands of jobs so far.

14 thoughts on “Adani’s silent partners

  1. Meanwhile coal demand has gone flat in China while new transmission from Xinjiang should cut imports, Japan Inc continues to de-coal, and the bailout of Adani’s giant plant at Mundra may not be 100%. Links in a comment on the July 1 Message Board.

  2. World CO2 emissions, from all human sources, reached an all-time high in 2018. That’s the real number of concern.

    This global socioeconomic system will run itself to ecological and climate collapse. It’s geared that way. The power lies with capital. Capital has an inflexible algorithmic rule-set which ensures these outcomes (until the fundamental laws of physics collapse the real economy). The expansion of capitals is the prime goal of the system. The algorithmic rule-set which supports this process takes no cognizance of limits to real quantities or real systems.

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    It contains fastidious material. Link to spam website deleted – JQ

  4. Pink Pearl: the reader community here welcomes your joining us, and just about understands your comment! But don’t worry, I think Anglophone readers understand that linguistic snobbery is a vice and we are required to make an effort to understand what second-language speakers are trying to say.

  5. Don’t worry John, you’re not the only one who has received a visit from the “contains fastidious material” fairy.

  6. Ronald: I may have been too kind to our unisual visitor. IMHO it’s still better to err on the side of gullibility than of cynicism.

    The Internet is a funny place. I follow an upmarket American con law blog, Balkinization. The comment threads often include a large number of entries in Arabic. I have no idea what they say.

  7. You did well, James. If I didn’t have access to secret internet spy technology… I mean, if I hadn’t seen the exact same spam elsewhere, I wouldn’t have been any wiser.

    PS: You’ll want to pick up some milk on the way home.

  8. ? James Wimberley says:
    “Meanwhile coal demand has gone flat in China”… yet they are upping production x 10% from last year?

    China Sets Commodities Records in Good Sign for Growth
    Bloomberg News
    July 15, 2019,

    “Highlights from NBS output data:

    “- Crude steel production rose 10% from a year earlier and average daily production reached a record. – Run-rates were equivalent to more than a billion tons a year.
    – Coal output rose 10% from a year earlier.
    – The country’s oil refineries and aluminum smelters were running at record rates, measured by average daily output.
    – Production of crude oil was at its highest in two years.

  9. paul walter how’s this for arrogance and stupidity… seal cracks with resin!

    ‘Shocking’: Mining damage in Sydney’s catchment prompts calls for halt
    “Flows from a “significant” water source for one of Sydney’s dams are turning orange and disappearing beneath the surface because of an underground coal mine that is slated to expand to beneath the reservoir itself.

    The government has agreed to let the miner test remediation efforts. These involve using a type of resin to fill the cracks caused by subsidence after coal is removed.

    South 32’s Dendrobium mine is also planning a big expansion and, on Thursday, the miner opened its environmental impact statement for public comment. WaterNSW estimates its cracking costs the catchments 1.28 billion litres of water yearly.

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