Top 10 reasons why Carmichael mega mine is a REALLY bad idea

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Feature Story - 22 July, 2014
Environment Minister Greg Hunt approves Carmichael, the biggest ever coal mine in Australia - a mine so huge it needs its own coal terminal dug right out of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Update 1st August 2014 : Carmichael Mine has been approved

Despite hundreds of thousands of Australians taking action to stop Carmichael Mine and its impact on the Great Barrier Reef, Federal Hunt approved the mega-mine on 28 July 2014. But this does not mean the mine will go ahead. Carmichael Mine is over 500km from the coast, so it relies on considerable new and expensive infrastructure to become operational. India's Adani Group needs to find the billions of dollars to establish rail access, water and power supplies in the remote region before this mine can be built. That's not even including the cash they need to expand the controversial Abbot Point coal terminal on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Considering the current coal price, which has plummeted to a record low of $70 (Carmichael needs a coal price of at least $100 to make the mine feasible), we know that Adani will struggle to raise the finance to build Carmichael Mine. 
As SMH reported: "The sustained weakness in thermal coal prices over the past three years has played havoc with the prospective economics of the project. Several industry majors have scaled back production ambitions as they have sought to slash costs to maintain viability. Last week US coal major Peabody admitted its Australian coal mines were barely profitable as it seeks to continue to cut costs."
What is Greenpeace going to do next?
The political system failed to protect the Great Barrier Reef, the global climate and our national interest, but  this is the end of the story. The Carmichael mine cannot go ahead without the financial support of one the big four Australian banks. Global investors like Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays have already refused to fund the mine's associated coal port. They felt their reputation was at risk due to unacceptable impacts on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area as a result of dumping, dredging and increased shipping for coal. 
Now, Greenpeace plans to make sure every Australian knows that any bank cutting a cheque to fund Carmichael mine is making possible a monster mine that will endanger our Reef and our climate. All of the big four banks are a possibility. We need to let them know that we won’t stand by while they fund climate and Reef destruction. 

The banks will already be nervous about funding Reef destruction, particularly since Indian mining giant Adani has an appalling track record of corruption and environmental destruction

If current plans go ahead, Australians may become familiar with the words ‘Adani’ and ‘Carmichael’ for all the wrong reasons.

Comprised of six open-cut pits and five underground mines, the mine would require a rail corridor through farmland and would produce so much coal to be shipped abroad that it’s driving the mega-port expansion in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.


Here are ten reasons why Carmichael mine should never be allowed to go ahead.

1. The Carmichael coal mine proposed for Queensland’s Galilee Basin would be the biggest ever seen in Australia. It would include six open cut pits and five underground mines. Measuring a whopping 28,000 hectares, the mine would be seven times the area of Sydney Harbour.

2. The company behind the mine, Adani Group, is infamous for environmental destruction and other illegal activity. The company’s unscrupulous activities in India have been aired in a number of government investigations and court hearings in India. They include bribery, illegal exports, building on private villagers’ land, and destroying a conservation area.

3. Over 20,000 hectares of native bushland would be cleared to make way for the coal mine, including endangered Brigalow woodlands.

4. Carmichael mine could push the endangered black throated finch (southern) towards extinction. One of the largest known populations of the native finch lives in the middle of the proposed coal mine. If the mine is built, its habitat would be bulldozed.

5. The mine would steal precious water. The mine requires 12 gigalitres (12 billion litres) of water each year from local rivers and underground aquifers. That’s enough drinking water for every Queenslander for three years. Even ten kilometres away, water tables are expected to drop by over one metre[1].

6. Adani plans to build a new coal port terminal in waters that are home to humpback whales, dugongs, rare snubfin dolphins and five types of sea-turtles to export the coal from Carmichael mine.

7. Three million cubic metres of sea-bed would be dredged up from inside the World Heritage Area and dumped in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to make way for coal ships and the port expansion. Scientists predict this dredging would be detrimental to the Reef. It will also cause irreversible damage to seagrass meadows that are home to threatened turtles and dugongs.

8. Adani’s planned coal port terminal would be located alongside the Caley Valley wetlands, home to up to 41,000 waterbirds, and an important turtle nesting beach.

9. The new port terminal’s coal stockpiles would be only 50 metres from ancient shell-middens and ancestral gravesites of the local Juru people. 

10. The burning of coal from Carmichael mine would produce four times the fossil fuel emissions of New Zealand. It is a catastrophe for the climate.

Adani's Carmichael Mine by Greenpeace Australia Pacific

[1] Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project SEIS (Nov 2013) Mine Hydrogeology Report